Aleppo and US
ALEPPO has become the melting pot of the 20month rebellion against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad and despite rising death toll, US is still undecided to support rebel forces, citing fears that weapons and cash may not go into the hands of Islamist fighters, which US said many of them from abroad with an anti-US agenda who have joined the fight.
Some are Syrians looking for unbridled revenge by joining Islamist units that routinely take on frontline combat. Many others are foreign fighters coming from places as diverse as Chechnya and Iraq, where they often have had past combat experience. Rebels have received small arms, ammunition, and communications gear from the US and other sources. Arming the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), or not, has become a hot US presidential election issue. In the final debate last week, President Obama said the US was doing everything we can to help the opposition, but warned that to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step, and that the US had to be absolutely certain that we know who we are helping. Likewise, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves as long as weapons don’t get into the wrong hands.
Those arms could be used to hurt us down the road. But on the ground, many Syrians say the US reluctance to support their cause is yielding more jihadists, and more radical ones. If the Americans do not give us weapons, then the jihadists will get them from somewhere else. Current US policy has opened the doors for jihadist Islam, not for moderates. Another result, often voiced in this embattled city, is that even though the US shares rebel aims, its limited support for the fight itself has ignited widespread anger toward Washington and even prompted speculation that the US wants the Syrian regime to win.
American reluctance to help more in Syria is partly due to uncertainty about Syria’s future, especially because the 2011 regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya are far from settled. The US also sees through the prism of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the CIA provided Stinger missiles and training to anti-Soviet mujahideen, only to watch them eventually changed into anti-American militant groups such as Al Qaeda.