Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani writes for US News and World Report on why supporting Syria’s moderate opposition will undermine militants from the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant:
Seen from the United States, Syria and Iraq look very similar at the moment. In both countries, jihadist fanatics are capturing territory and resources and brutalizing anyone who resists. Unlike in Iraq, however, in Syria the United States has a good policy option – one that would help defeat the extremists in both countries. The Obama administration should finally give the moderate Syrian opposition the help it needs to fight and defeat the jihadists. Without their success in Syria, they could not have captured so much of Iraq.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, has succeeded stunningly in building its medieval state in Iraq and Syria. A group of a few thousand jihadists have captured territory the size of Jordan, sophisticated military hardware, and substantial oil resources and infrastructure.