Friday, June 13, 2014

The Danger of Providing Arms to Civil War Combatants

David Ignatius shares an update about the situation in Iraq,
ISIS forces have swept south along Highway 1 from Mosul, swelling their ranks by liberating 2,000 to 3,000 jihadist fighters from a prison in Nineveh province. The jihadists have captured so much U.S.-made equipment that it’s reportedly hard to distinguish friend from foe along the chaotic highway south.
Those who argue that we should throw powerful weapons to the "least worst" of the Syrian rebel factions had best keep in mind how quickly those arms can end up in the wrong hands.

Ignatius closes with an odd accusation,
Restitching the fabric of Iraq and Syria may be Mission Impossible. But with its focus on counterterrorism and weapons supplies, the Obama administration seems to have decided to treat the region simply as a shooting gallery.
As opposed to... doing what? Perhaps he's alluding to what had seemed to be a rhetorical question,
Can [the United States and its allies] convene a regional peace conference — which would seek to reconcile Sunni and Shiite forces and their key backers, Saudi Arabia and Iran — in some new security architecture?
Can they convene such a conference? I have every reason to believe that they can find a nice conference center, a printer who can engrave some attractive invitations, and a decent caterer. But the real question is, would such a conference accomplish anything? I suspect that, even at his most optimistic, Ignatius would admit that the odds of any material progress are vanishingly small.

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