From John McCain to Ayman al-Zawahri, the call to arms has gone out around the world and been answered. Foreign fighters and weaponry are pouring into Syria, arming various insurgent and rebel factions with an eye toward joining an increasingly internationalized civil war.
What started as peaceful protests by a few hundred people in Daraa quickly grew into a nationwide call for reform in Syria. Before long, enough military defectors joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to make it a credible fighting force, and the protesters lost their revolution in favor of the Turkish backed FSA’s attempt at military conquest of the country.
Now everybody from the Arab League to al-Qaeda is looking to cash in, and secure their own interests in Syria. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is expanding significantly into Syria, with Iraq struggling to control the border.
The US and the Arab League are likely to have the most money to spend trying to buy influence in Syria’s various rebel fighters. AQI has the advantage of experienced fighters in Iraq, having just spent the last eight years fighting a US occupation there.
The ones with the least to bring to the table, now that so much of the international community has decided on a course of intervention, are Syria’s voting public. It seems that, as in Libya, they will be cut out in favor of preferred international-backed factions.