The true nature of the conflict is only now revealing itself. The picture that is formulating is not for the politically squeamish. Although so many in the west want to believe Assad is a raving jack-booted thug, his interview with Charlie Rose a few weeks ago did nothing to indicate this. Rather, he acquitted himself as someone who, calmly and rationally articulated his views that are unpopular in the west, but the substance of which seems to be more reliable every day.
When he responded to allegations of his use of chemical weapons, Assad alleged the rebels had attacked his troops, not the other way around; that they have a chemical weapons "Really? Never heard that before," I thought. A quick internet search revealed that, yep, sure enough, Turkish authorities arrested rebels possession of a small amount of Sarin gas near their border back in May of this year and the number of those who believe Assad might actually be right is growing.
Assad was also making claims of an Al-Qeada link to the rebels since at least April of this year but, only now have the western media begun to explore this possibility. Evidence of the link seems to grow stronger every day and just today, reports have surfaced alleging that Syrian rebels have massacred civilians back in August while Assad has recently agreed to the destruction of his chemical weapons.
We can discuss at length how western intervention will needlessly anger the Russians and the Iranians, cost billions of dollars, and may further destabilize the region. Had we intervened early enough, perhaps the west could have disposed of a despot while avoiding the prospect of an Al-Qeada-tainted alternative, but that ship has sailed and after two years of inaction, we must consider the two complications that have emerged that throw a spanner in the blind drive toward western intervention: that Assad is more rational and credible than previously thought, and at the same time, more proof surfaces every day that suggests the rebels may be a more desperate and unsavory lot than we initially believed.
At this stage, the way forward revolves around the central question: do we back the rebels and guarantee chaos-or is the world better served with the devil we know? Pass the brimstone, please.
For further consideration:
Rebels Arrested With Sarin Gas
US declares Jabhat al-Nusra, a group in Syria with alleged al-Qaida links, as terrorist body
Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War
Syrian Rebels Pledge Loyalty to Al-Qaeda
Syrian Islamist rebels killed or kidnapped hundreds of civilians, rights group says
Syrian Rebels Accused of Massacring Civilians
US, Russia Commend Assad For Complying With Agreement