Far from a foregone conclusion of a war that is always just a few weeks from being resolved, Pentagon officials say that the Syrian Civil War could well last for “multiple years” from this point without being settled.
The comments from Deputy DIA Director David Shedd also included a warning that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda factions of the region, are gaining growing influence and could wind up taking over the rebellion outright as the war drags on.
The comments are being spun as an excuse for US intervention, though of course it can be debated that al-Qaeda already has effective control of the rebellion, at least the fighting forces with a meaningful impact, and that seems like a very good reason not to invade on their behalf.
Shedd claimed “at least 1,200” different rebel factions, with a lot of them small local groups with a single grievance or two. He added that previous DIA predictions of Assad’s ousted in early 2013 had not panned out.
Concern about an Islamist takeover of the rebellion is also looming large in Russia, where the president of the subject Dagestani Republic Ramazan Abdulatipov urged the Federal Security Service to make it more difficult for Islamists in Russia’s southern regions to go to Syria and join the rebellion. Large numbers of fighters from the Caucasus nations have joined the rebellion in Syria, making up one of the largest foreign groups vying for influence.