Western nations have been cheerfully backing Syrian rebels from virtually the beginning, but the direct involvement of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which has merged with the rebel Jabhat al-Nusra faction, has caused at least a little trepidation.
The next round of meetings next weekend involving the Friends of Syria nations, which constantly hold summits aimed at shoring up funding for rebels, is said to include some pushes to find a “peaceful settlement” fearing Nusra’s rise to prominence is going to make their past backing a ticket to an al-Qaeda-dominated Syria.
Which will be a change even if they are minor efforts, since the Friends of Syria have mostly eschewed “peaceful settlement” on general principle and have instead wanted an unconditional regime change.
It’s unclear how sincere they are in talking settlement this time either, with major new arms programs just being unveiled and French officials trying to downplay al-Qaeda’s involvement as a “game-changer,” insisting that abandoning the effort to impose regime change just because of fears the new regime might be al-Qaeda backed would waste all the efforts already put in.
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