New York Times.)
The United States government is abandoning their position of supplying only non-combat help to the Syrian rebels. The Obama administration has now decided to supply weapons to the rebels, making it clearer than ever that the United States has chosen a side in that country's civil war.
The reason given by the government for this decision is that the Syrian government, on at least one occasion, has used chemical weapons in that war. But this seems to be just an excuse for taking action many in the government wanted to take, since the United Nations investigators (who have been investigating whether chemical weapons have been used or not) have not confirmed the use of chemical weapons.
This is a dangerous move. Many believe the supplying of small arms to the rebels will not be enough to make a decisive difference in the Syrian conflict, and are still pushing for the use of U.S. military power there (air power, and maybe even ground troops). Personally, I think any kind of military help (supplying arms or using U.S. military power) is a serious mistake, that can only have negative repercussions in the future.
We made this same mistake in Afghanistan. We assumed the Afghan rebels were our friends just because they were fighting the Soviets, so we supplied them with arms. But after winning, they morphed into the Taliban and provided a safe home and training grounds for al-Queda (who then attacked us on 9/11). Now we are still fighting that same Taliban in a seemingly endless war.
What makes us think the same thing won't happen in Syria. The Syrian leader is a brutal dictator, but are the rebels any better. We know they are muslim fundamentalists, and it is very likely that any government they created would be an authoritarian theocracy (much like the Taliban). And it is just as likely they would be anti-American.
The truth is that the United States really doesn't have a dog in this fight -- and it is just wishful thinking to believe that we do. It is the height of folly to even consider taking sides in the Syrian civil war -- in any way.