Under the category of “better late than never” (but just barely): An international “Friends of Syria” group of nations agreed in Istanbul to step up aid, at least of the non-lethal sort, to the Syrian rebels. Gulf nations pledged $100 million to pay salaries to the anti-Assad fighters while the U.S. agreed to send communications equipment to help the rebels get better organized.
That’s certainly a step forward, but it’s not as far as the U.S. and its allies should go. As Molham Al Drobi, a member of the Syrian National Council, told the New York Times: “Our people are killed in the streets. If the international community prefers not to do it themselves, they should at least help us doing it by giving us the green light, by providing us the arms, or anything else that needs to be done.”
He’s absolutely right. With more than 9,000 Syrians having already been slaughtered–and possibly far more–it is imperative that the international community do more to even the odds for the embattled rebel fighters by providing them with arms and ammunition. These need not be heavy weapons that could potentially threaten Israel or destabilize neighboring countries–AK-47s, RPGs, and lots of ammunition will do. Otherwise, Bashar al-Assad will continue his homicidal campaign to stamp out the rebellion with the help of the Iranian regime–and prevent the U.S. from seizing a major opportunity to alter the balance of power in the Middle East against the ayatollahs.