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

 

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Syria

soundoff (163 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
  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
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