U.S. efforts in Syria may be giving only the illusion of forward motion

Peace and Freedom

Syria
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Free Syrian Army fighters run after attacking a Syrian Army tank during fighting in Aleppo, Syria. (Manu Brabo / Associated Press / September 7, 2012)
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By DoyleMcManus
The Los Angeles Times
December 15, 2013

Here’s how feeble U.S. influence on the outcome of Syria’s dreadful civil war has become: For the Obama administration’s diplomacy to succeed, it now needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the Islamic Front.

That wasn’t where the administration hoped to be. When President Obama first got interested in Syria back in 2011, his hope was that a popular uprising just needed a little moral support from the outside world to topple the brutal regime of Bashar Assad.

When that didn’t work, Obama offered modest, mostly non-military aid to moderate groups in the Syrian opposition, enough to raise their hopes but not enough to ensure success on the battlefield. And when…

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