July 14th, 2014
10:41 AM ET

Is U.S. throwing fuel on Middle East fire?

By Fareed Zakaria

The Obama administration's decision to seek $500 million to train and fund moderate elements of the Syrian opposition has been greeted with bipartisan support in Washington. The general consensus is that if the administration had done three years ago what it is doing now, the situation in Syria would not have turned into a bloody sectarian civil war.

But almost all elements of this conventional wisdom are wrong. The administration is caving in to the classic Washington desire to "do something" in the face of a terrible tragedy without any clear sense as to whether it has the ability to improve things or to make matters worse…

…The complexity of Washington's task can be seen in the American attitude towards ISIS. When the group battles the al-Maliki government in Iraq, it is a deadly foe of the United States and must be ruthlessly attacked. But when it crosses the now non-existent border between Iraq and Syria and battles the al-Assad regime, it’s aligned with America's stated goal of regime change in Damascus.

With this whole history of sectarian conflict in mind, it’s difficult to believe that three years ago a modest American intervention of arms and training, which is all that was being advocated, would have changed the trajectory of events in Syria.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

 

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take • Syria

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. edgar dee

    Indeed!

    So as in the case of Ukraine and all the wars of the world.

    September 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  2. roopnarine singh

    THE UNITED STATES HAD HAD A CONSISTENT POLICY OF DESTROYING THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL, BECAUSE THE ZIONISTS HAVE CAPTURED THE LEADERSHIP OF AMERICA. THATS WHY NETANYAHOO GETS MORE STANDING OVATIONS IN CONGRESS THAN ANY PRESIDENT. THE ZIONIST ADVISERS FALSELY TARGETED SADDAM HOSEIN THE ONLY ARAB TO SEND SCUD MISSILES INTO ISRAEL. THE SAME THEY TRY AGAINST SYRIA AND ASSAD ,THE ONLY MIDEAST GOVERNMENT TO DISCARD RELIGION FROM ITS REGIME .THE CHICKENS ARE COMING TO ROOST. ISIS HAS ITS EYE ON THE JUGULAR OF ISRAEL. LET ISRAEL JUMP FIRST AGAINST ISIS. THE WEST CAN HELP WITH NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MUST WAKE UP AND REALISE THEY HAVE THREE ENEMIES
    ONE IS ISRAEL AND THE OTHER THE WAHABIS OF SAUDI ARABIA, FOR DECADES FINANCING TERRORIST MADARASAS IN PAKISTAN AND AROUND THE WORLD. NOW THEIR CHICKENS ARE COMING TO HATCH...ISIS LIKE TERRORISTS EVERYWHERE..THE ZIONISTS IN CONGRESS MUST BE TAGGED AND CONTROLLED . THEY HAVE KILLED INDIRECTLY TOO MANY BRAVE AMERICANS.WORLD WAR 3 WILL BE THEIR CAUSING AS ISIS CREATES A POWER HUNGRY ISLAMIC HITLER AGAINST ALL MANKIND WITH SHARIAH LAW AGAINST SHIRA WOMEN AS SLAVES AND MAHOMET THE EARTHLY GOD. -AWAKE AMERICA!

    September 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • joanie kahl

      Good job keep writing.......
      be aware that the USA government's FCC is trying to divide the internet......see Net neutrality topics........so voices as yours can not be heard by all...........

      September 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  3. roopnarine singh

    WAKE UP AMERICA NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. WHO IS HEARING WHO IS WISE.THE ZIONISTS, AND WAHABISTS AND JUDAIC CHRISTIANS HAVE USED THE TRIBAL JEALOUS VAMPIRE GOD CONCEPT TO DIVIDE AND RULE MANKIND.POWER IS THEIR GOD .IT IS THIS PRIMITIVE GOD COCEPT, MY GOD IS GOD AND YOUR GOD IS A DOG IS NOW THE TOXIC APPENDICITIS THREATENING THE WHOLE BODY OF MANKIND. ACT TODAY YOUTH OF THE WORLD.FOLLOW THE GOSPEL OF PERFECTION AT
    hinduroyal society.com

    September 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  4. joanie kahl

    Quote from Presidential Political and Media Advisor from Syria Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
    “any force, no matter how strong, cannot fight terrorism from overseas or with planes, because this force must get in touch with the victims of terrorism.”
    and importantly...... she says …..
    “to try and understand the current situation and where each side stands, stressing the need to consider matters carefully and away from the exaggeration employed by some media outlets.” Presidential Political and Media Advisor from Syria Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

    September 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • gwtheyrn

      Oh, there's a force that could end terrorism from over seas. The problem is that most people don't have the stomach for it. One Ohio class submarine is capable of getting rid of all the problems in that region. Arabs are a cancer upon the rest of humanity. They would be neither missed nor mourned.

      October 13, 2014 at 7:06 am | Reply
  5. joanie kahl

    This is like air striking the whole state of Missouri because of some bad boys in Ferguson

    Most analysts, estimate the number of Islamic State fighters in both Iraq and Syria to be about 20,000.
    In any case, the group is dwarfed by its foes in the Syrian and Iraqi armies - both in numbers and firepower.

    Air Strikes to middle class families is bad. Kerry's $500 million? How can you buy off the loss of a child, a parent...Only in America.
    I don't believe CNN's pre determined POLLS Once again peddle fear.... save them....get what you want....I am an American and I will not buy this ticket... Wrong airline.
    Borders are wide open........and you think we Americans are so stupid to lock step into this war rhetoric....You are building up another generation of anger in the Middle East......Put your CEO sons on the front lines this time.....

    September 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  6. m.s.mohamed ansari

    ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON ILLEGAL WAR AND ROYALBUDGET $1.7TRILLION
    next BBC All press and media Arabs leader and G20 leader ELECTRONIC VOTE ,,WHITE HOUSE HOUSE OF COMMAND,HOUSE OF LORD,,MICROSOFT, under control by CONGRESS ATO Z CONTROL BY QUEEN ELIZABETH still British rule the global 21 st century

    Royal budget and wedding cost. 10 generation total $ 57 trillion
    Each every politician rolling 8 years only
    But queen family enjoying 10 generation

    GLOBAL ECONOMIC FALL REASON WAR. Improve economy only peace and prayer
    WAR cost total $ 3.5 TRILLION. Every poor human blood tear .please saves economic
    POVERTY FAMINE &Effected education many people suicide. Many people Drug addict
    Jobless PRESENT ECONOMIC CRISIS
    Effected All liberal democracy. Billion of people tax pays.
    FDI INVESTOR &Joint ventured, effected global Federal Reserve
    Effected CNC manufacturer & energy power
    BANKRUPT 170 BANKS OVER ALL 87000 BRANCHES
    Million of people death and is wounded. NATO &US. Coalition troops 8000 wound 35000, public 800000
    Increase every day by day OPEC. Every good leader 8years but queen family enjoying10 th generation Y
    Global environment climate change this leads to agricultural &human health problem
    HISTORY + 114. MDCCLXXVI +114.UNITEDKING+114.HOUSE OF COMMAND +62
    WHITE HOUSE +52 =114. QUEEN+62 POPE +52 =114
    Please bring original HISTORY .Six thousand journalist are suppressing the truth of history but in one day it will come out
    Now we are in 21st century there were times former journalist exposed truth and sacrificed their precious life for the sake of truth, they unveiled the real history. Perhaps contradicting to their present power and money clouded their mind and our upcoming generation becomes a victim.
    We do not believe politicians as we used to, we do not believe the media, and whereas we believe each other”
    Thanking you this is turning point of improve GLOBAL ECONOMIC
    1. Press freedom 2.libral democracy 3.all country equal currency4.open emigration 5.free trade policy 6.avoid electronic vote 7. Every one equal right

    Your’s sincerely
    M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI
    Pragmatism has now fallen foul of the continuing power of the press.

    http://costofwar.com/

    http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/war.casualties/index.html

    http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL3647712A/World_Media_Association

    Economic save only 6 point. Peace, prayer, liberty, unity, friendly, simple

    September 21, 2014 at 3:17 am | Reply
  7. Dhruv Gupta

    It seems that the US is doing a smiler thing that it did in Afghanistan & Egypt. It backed the Tailban in 1980's, I believe, against Russia. In Egypt it backed regime change recently and the Muslim Brotherhood came into power, which has also resulted in conflict. How can the US be sure that this money will fall into the right hands? From my limited perspective, it seems it will add fuel to the fire. I think only a diplomatic dialogue will work. We must stop the killing. Otherwise the killing will not stop and the next generation yet to be born will continue to fight – just like the Assad's (father & son). We need dialogue between Assad's regime and rebels now. Find out what President Assad wants and start the dialogue.

    September 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  8. shaji Joseph

    The IS Jihads must be treated with laws of Middle age or even the Stone age.

    October 18, 2014 at 4:40 am | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,663 other followers