Syrian Rebels Deserve Support

Sean Para, Columnist

The United States should provide armed support for the Syrian rebel fighters. The Syrian Civil War has dragged on for far too long, claimed too many lives and caused too much destruction. While America has provided humanitarian aid for the victims of the conflict, and non-military aid for the opposition fighters, it has not provided weapons or munitions for them.The rebels have made large gains despite limited international support, and the international com- munity has come out in their favor. The rebels still, however, are struggling against the authoritarian Assad regime and neither side has gained an over whelming advantage in the conflict. With more American support, the rebels would be able to overcome the Syrian government and bring an end to the violence.

The main problem with supporting the Syrian rebels is, of course, what the nature of the revolutionary regime that would come to power would be. The Syrian rebel forces, while nominally under the command of the National Coalition for Rebel and Opposition Forces, are in fact very divided. The primary division is between the secular and religious opposition groups. The United States, of course, supports the secular groups and is wary of the religious ones, such as Muslim Brotherhood. If the United States were to provide greater support for the rebels, it would give our country a greater amount of leverage over them. With this increased influence, America would be able to steer the rebels towards a secular democracy once they had achieved victory. American military aid, but certainly not intervention, could tip the balance of civil war in favor of the rebels and provide America with influence over the rebel groups, who would be indebted to Washington for their victory.

Violence in Syria has reached a point where it must be stopped. The recent allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the war only reinforce the fact that the violence has spread out of control. The entire region has become destabilized due to the refugee crisis caused by the civil war and the sporadic cross-border warfare. With American help, Syria could come out of the civil war with the basis of a secular democracy. However, an Islamic theocracy could also take control, something that the United States must try to prevent. The best way to influence the opposition groups is to provide aid to those that have interests and values in line with America’s. The Syrian Civil War could be an opportunity to create another U.S. ally in the Middle East, but only if America acts decisively and uses its influence judiciously to affect the desired outcome.