As Foreign Fighters Flood Syria, Fears of a New Extremist Haven

The New York Times wrote a great story about the latest happening in Syria.

The article lays it out pretty concisely here:

  • As foreign fighters pour into Syria at an increasing clip, extremist groups are carving out pockets of territory that are becoming havens for Islamist militants, posing what United States and Western intelligence officials say may be developing into one of the biggest terrorist threats in the world today.

    Known as fierce fighters willing to employ suicide car bombs, the jihadist groups now include more than 6,000 foreigners, counterterrorism officials say, adding that such fighters are streaming into Syria in greater numbers than went into Iraq at the height of the insurgency there against the American occupation.

And then there’s this:

  • The idea that Syria could supplant Pakistan as the primary haven for Al Qaeda someday, should the government fall, is a heavy blow to the Western-backed Syrian opposition and its military arm, the Free Syrian Army. It plays directly into the hands of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, whose government has sought to portray itself as the only alternative to Islamic extremism and chaos, and has made the prospect of full-on American support even more remote than it already was.
  • It was the fear of militants coming to dominate the opposition that caused the United States and its Western allies to hold off providing lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, at least until now. But as a result, counterterrorism analysts say, they lost a chance to influence the battle in Syria. Even Congressional supporters of the C.I.A.’s covert program to arm moderate elements of the Syrian opposition fear the delivery of weapons, set to begin this month, will be too little, too late.

Make sure you read the full article: As Foreign Fighters Flood Syria, Fears of a New Extremist Haven. Well worth the read.

I guess one upside, if there is one, is that it seems that extremist Sunni’s and Shiites are far more focused on killing each other than attacking the West these days.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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