The war in Syria remains a stalemate and “grinds on” because the rebels’ key allies, including Qatar, are holding back their full support following Washington’s discouragement, the New York Times reports.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have funneled money and small arms to the men fighting Bashar Al-Assad’s government, sources at the Syrian border have repeatedly confirmed.
But heavier weapons and armored vehicles, which would help turn the tide of the revolution, have not been sent because of US fears that they’ll fall into the wrong hands, officials told NYT:
“You can give the rebels AKs, but you can’t stop the Syrian regime’s military with AKs,” said Khalid al-Attiyah, a state minister for foreign affairs in Qatar. Providing the rebels with heavier weapons “has to happen,” he added. “But first we need the backing of the United States, and preferably the U.N.”
Meanwhile, rebels’ allies are not unaware of the dangers of a protracted conflict:
…Many Saudi and Qatari officials now fear that the fighting in Syria is awakening deep sectarian animosities and, barring such intervention, could turn into an uncontrollable popular jihad with consequences far more threatening to Arab governments than the Afghan war of the 1980s.
But what the next step forward should be remains to be seen.