Monday, 6 August 2012

Syria’s ghost war could end up haunting us

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:51 PDT

Foreign powers did not invent Syria’s uprising, but they are certainly helping it along. In recent months Turks, Arabs and Americans have embraced the rebel cause, pumping in a thickening flow of weapons and helping to discipline the once ragtag insurgents into a force that grows more potent by the day…

As Assad’s forces encircle Aleppo and bomb its neighbourhoods from the air, it’s easy to understand why such decisions have been taken. But proxy wars carry risks, and even those of us who are sympathetic to the rebel cause must recognise this. The shadow of Afghanistan, another country where Saudi Arabia and the United States cooperated to aid fragmented rebel forces, hangs over present-day Syria. Those efforts, labelled “ghost wars” by the journalist Steve Coll, succeeded in toppling a government, but also contributed to decades of instability, emboldened radical Islamist groups, and had consequences far beyond Afghanistan’s borders.

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