The war in Syria continues to get even uglier. As Neal MacFarqhuar reports in the New York Times, more and more foreign jihadists are sneaking into the country each day.
The past few months have witnessed the emergence of larger, more organized and better armed Syrian militant organizations pushing an agenda based on jihad, the concept that they have a divine mandate to fight. Even less-zealous resistance groups are adopting a pronounced Islamic aura because it attracts more financing.
Fighters, activists and analysts say that jihadi groups are emerging now for several reasons. They generally stand apart from the Free Syrian Army, the loose national coalition of local militias made up of army defectors and civilian volunteers. Significantly, most of the money flowing to the Syrian opposition is coming from religious donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region whose generosity hinges on Salafi teaching.
I can certainly understand why the Obama administration wants to stay out of this. Syria is truly a problem from hell. The liklihood of a happy ending is vanishingly close to zero. That will still be true even if the United States does get involved.
But the most likely outcome will continue to worsen the longer this lasts. And if Al Qaeda, the Qataris, and the Saudis have the most on-the-ground influence when the dust clears, the odds that Syria will remain a terrorist-sponsoring enemy of the United States even after regime-change are substantial.