The Syrian conflict grinds onward taking a toll in human suffering known only to God. Why is this distant conflict of interest to anyone outside mortar range, much less across the Mediterranean and Atlantic? Syria is at the fulcrum of mid eastern power. It has important geopolitical position verses Israel, an existing (though basic) SCUD/chemical weapons infrastructure, and the only Russian naval base in the area. To put this another way, Syria is a juicy fig, waiting to be plucked by any one of three co-belligerents (Russia, Turkey, or subset Iranian surrogates). We suppose that no matter who is running the country it will always be called Syria (it's such a bother to reprint all those maps and travel guides), however we opine that it will be partitioned and within a very few years look a lot like Lebanon.
None of this would make a lot of difference to anyone if it weren't the potential that Syria could be the anchor that drags the whole world into the next Great War as they try to hang onto what they believe is something of value.
The US does not seek to occupy territory, however US arms and “advisers” are being shipped into the country at a rate only slightly slower than those from Russia. This is obviously true because 1) Assad is running VERY low on cash (who but Russia would give him credit), 2) the country's infrastructure is in utter shambles, and 3) the rebels though having no independent funding or government managed to persuade several Syrian Army general officers to defect, and to kill one Russian Major General.
Miscalculation, hubris, avarice and illusions of safety/invincibility have brought more than one nation to its place on the block. The only missing ingredient is Red China, and that will be spinning up as the Chinese assert an increased naval presence both in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. Watch as the flower blooms. The resolution of this carnage will not be peace, but a gradual diminution of destruction as scores are settled and the Islamists consolidate their gains in stages.
None of these poeple are amateurs.
"Al-Qaeda is hijacking the revolution and diverting it from its original purpose, which was toppling the regime" of President Bashar Assad, said Abu Chin Orwa'a in Idlib province. Orwa'a is a member of the National Unity Battalion, a group fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which says it is resisting involvement by extremist foreign fighters.
"They are manipulating it by hitting the religious nerves of the people," Orwa'a said.
"We fight to raise the word of God," said Abu Salem, a 29-year-old Syrian from Qseir, recuperating recently in the no-man's-land border between Lebanon's northern Bekaa Valley and Syria.
As shells exploded less than a mile away, the former cement mixer showed photos on his mobile phone of Osama Bin Laden and the latest videos from Al Nusra Front, the little known jihadi group that has claimed responsibility for many of the biggest bombings to hit Damascus since January.
"After the regime is toppled this will be the first stone in building the Islamic Caliphate and Syria must adopt Islamic law," he said.
The skinny fighter said his group, the Mujahedeen Brigade, was led by a Syrian who fought against US troops in Iraq's Fallujah. Abu Salem said he received money from Syrian expatriates in the Gulf and that it came with the greeting that is commonly used by ultra-conservative Salafists.