One thousand US troops are now in Jordan. Before the weekend, President Obama announced this in a letter to Congress.
Such news comes after the United States confirmed chemical weapons had been used in Syria by President Assad’s forces, the so-called “red line” for active Western military intervention.
This new commitment to ousting Assad by the US was first confirmed last week after reports that anti-Assad groups in Syria received new weapon shipments, which the rebels credited to US influence.
American citizens should be concerned over these new developments. As a nation, the US has, in recent decades, earned a reputation for entering a fight without considering the reasons for it and the possible repercussions it could have.
As it stands, the Syrian conflict has begun widening into a regional conflict since entering its third year this spring. With accusations of attacks within Turkey’s borders, Israel bombing Damascus, and more recently, battles being fought on Lebanese land, this is the undeniable course the war is headed.
Before that, however, the Syrian “civil war” was a proxy conflict, a strange and alarming throwback to the Cold War-era. It shared striking similarities to the variety of civil wars and domestic unrest characteristic of many South American nations during the 1970s and 80s, where American support was given to one faction or the other in secret.
With 1,000 uniformed US soldiers now officially stationed in Syria’s neighbor, Jordan, the war changes. President Obama has been quite hesitant to pursue such direct action; between excessive wars that have cost this nation many lives and left US debt in the red, he knows it would not be a popular choice among Americans.
With Israel threatening to enter the fray, Obama clearly sees the need to have the US step into the conflict, “red line” or not.
Though there’s little doubt that Syrian President Assad has used brutal, genocide-like tactics, including UN documented massacres, some of the rebel factions are far from being the “good guys” as well.
These factions have been getting press for their brutal tactics as well, murdering “blasphemous” children and targeting members of oppositional Islamic sects. Last week Spanish police arrested Al Qaeda affiliates, accused of recruiting locals to fight against Assad in Syria.
So what is the answer? Today, the US and the West are left with choices that are only bad and worse.
Russia and Iran have made clear they support Assad’s regime and oppose Western intervention. In fact, both have gone so far as to send weapons to Assad and Russia has permanently deployed their navy to the Mediterranean Sea.
China, however, may be the wild card. Showing a recent interest in increased Middle Eastern stability, a regional conflict would likely be against their interests, which are to expand trade markets.
US intervention in Syria, however, might be just what China (and Iran) wants after all. For China, it could mean an opportunity to see the US taking on further debt. For Iran, the US entry could further their goals to establish and lead a Middle Eastern power bloc.
However with more than 93,000 Syrians confirmed dead in the conflict’s wake, it’s clear an end to the horror must come in some form. After more than two years and so many dead, is US troop deployment to Jordan and Syria too little, too late?
[Image via ShutterStock]