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Putin and Assad’s strategy means to play the Syrian regime against a growing Sunni AQ-type threat overshadowing its own anti-western characteristics and the Shiite Hezbollah presence.

Naive Obama may have misgauged the true effects of the Soviet demise, which appears to have removed the ideology of the former state but not the program mechanics by which it operated.

Reference

Schism in EU? Intelligence co-operate with Syria amid political freeze — RT News – 1/15/2014.

Damian Clairmont killed fighting with al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria – Canada – CBC News – 1/16/2014.  Watch both videos.  I found the second frightening:Interviewee Muhammad Robert Heft states, “It’s just the extreme of what happens.  You’re going to save the world.  I call it the khalifa complex.  They suddenly think that picking up an AK-47 and shooting a few people that we’re going to live happily ever after.  It’s so wrong.  It’s taken us fourteen-hundred years as Muslims to become dysfunctional, and we want it back in twenty-four hours.  It’s just not going to happen that way.”

How is it going to happen?

Additional Commentary

Political calculus suggesting that Syria has become a battleground between two of the same personality — different talk, same walk — continues to hold in my thinking, but Bashar al-Assad may have the edge with the gift provided by the Al Qaeda affiliates: if not him, them.

The west has gotten the message and, as ever, seems not to have a good return for it other than to perhaps redouble its efforts with General Idris and what remains of a more moderate FSA, which seems hardly in the news these days (except when it gives up a major weapons depot to hardened Islamists).

The draw of vulnerable “Clairmonts” to serious battle reenactment in foreign space is not the least new in the west, but my impression is the numbers have gone up.  These are not a handful of Somali youth from the American midwest lighting out for Mogadishu and a lesson in al-Shabaab realpolitik.

There is an open and extensive conflict under way in the middle east, and these wish for their glorious role in it.

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