The U.S. commitment to aiding the Syrian opposition against the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad has been one of many words and few deeds. Repeated pledges of support absent material assistance have allowed fringe elements to establish themselves in northern Syria. If this trend persists, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warning of “efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution” will soon become reality….
Groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra have been allowed to establish not just a presence but also a foothold. If the civilian councils and other governance structures emerging in the liberated regions can be sufficiently funded, they can provide policing and relief services to stabilize their communities. But without support from the United States and other allies, well-funded extremist groups can continue to recruit fighters from a population that would otherwise ignore them. (Washington Post op-ed, Posted 28 Dec 12)