The conflict in Syria is more than a nation rising up against a tyrannical leader. Both sides have ties to terrorism and that means that whoever wins, the United States loses.
The war in Syria began in 2011 when Syrian security forces killed protestors who were demanding the release of political prisoners. The act led to increased protests and more violence between the government and protestors. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad ordered the release of political prisoners and provided amnesty for them. His actions were too late as more Syrians joined in demanding his removal.
On the face, this seems like a war between the oppressed and the oppressor. The Syrian people, on one side, are trying to remove a dictator and create a new nation. Al-Assad, on the other side, is trying to maintain his control and power over the nation. Unfortunately, both sides have ties to terrorist organizations that are fighting for their own reasons.
The Syrian people are being supported by rebel factions from Chechnya and Al-Qaeda. The Chechen rebels claim to be fighting a jihad against Al-Assad in order to create an Islamic state in Syria. Al-Qaeda's presence in Syria is more interesting since they support global jihad and the ouster of Sunni regimes. While Al-Assad is not a Sunni but an Alawite, Al-Qaeda may be establishing a foothold in a new nation from which it can operate openly.
Al-Assad, on the other hand, is supported by the terrorist group Hezbollah. This group has sent fighters into Syria to support the Al-Assad regime. Hezbollah has been involved in kidnappings, hijackings and is believed to be responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of Marines in Lebanon. Al-Assad is also supported by Iran, which provides equipment and training to the Syrian government. Iran has been identified as a supporter of worldwide terrorism activities.
The U.S. has gone on the record as supporting the ouster of Al-Assad. President Obama has authorized covert support for the rebels and has publicly recognized the Syrian rebel efforts. The Syrian rebels have also been supported by both parties in Congress. The problem, unfortunately, is whether the U.S. understands what is at stake in Syria and can find an appropriate position.
If the U.S. continues with its support for Syrian rebels how can the nation justify supporting terrorists? Al-Qaeda was responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. If American leadership decides to change its position and support the Al-Assad regime, can it justify its support of Al-Assad's regime and Hezbollah's role in terrorism.
Unfortunately, the U.S. cannot win if either side succeeds. The problem for the nation is that each side is supported by terrorists with specific goals. Those goals, whoever wins, puts the U.S. in a poor position to create peace in the Middle East. If a Muslim state is created in Syria, then Chechnyan rebels and Al-Qaeda will have a foothold in a nation that supports their efforts. If the U.S. decides to support Al-Assad, then national leadership will have to backtrack from their rebel support and accept Hezbollah's role in the Middle East.
The prudent position for the U.S. is to support the overthrow of Al-Assad but not to get involved with arms nor drone support. The idea of helping Al-Qaeda does not make sense to Americans and the idea of helping Hezbollah does not help Israel one of America's allies. Instead, the U.S. should wait and see who wins the battle and prepare itself for another enemy.