America's Alibis for Not Helping Syria

(Wall Street Journal) Fouad Ajami - The silence of President Obama on the matter of Syria reveals the general retreat of American power in the Middle East. Yet topple the Syrian dictatorship and the access of Iran to the Mediterranean is severed, leaving the brigands of Hamas and Hizbullah scrambling. Plainly, the Syrian tyranny's writ has expired. Ironically, it was the Assad tyranny itself that had provided transit and sanctuary for jihadists who crossed into Iraq to do battle against the Americans; it even released its own Islamist prisoners and dispatched them to Iraq with the promise of pardon. It is an inescapable fate that the U.S. is the provider of order in that region. We can lend a hand to the embattled Syrians or risk turning Syria into a devil's playground of religious extremism. The Syrian army is demoralized and riven with factionalism and sectarian enmities. It could be brought down by defectors given training and weapons; safe havens could give disaffected soldiers an incentive, and the space, to defect. In a battered Syria, a desperate people await America's help and puzzle over its leader's passivity. The writer is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

2012-02-24 00:00:00

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