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Bombing Into Unintended Consequences in Syria

by Abigail R. Esman

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["In the Netherlands these days, politicians discuss revoking the passports of citizens who join the opposition to Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria. In Belgium, the government threatens to revoke benefits for Belgian nationals who do the same. And in America, the New York Times reported only a month ago on the growing threat to the West as Western Muslims rush into the fight against Assad. In fact, only this past August 20, the Washington Free Beacon reported that "[s]ignificant numbers of American and European jihadists are traveling to Syria to join Islamist rebels, prompting new fears of a future wave of al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States and Europe, according to U.S. officials."

Among those known to U.S. counterterrorism forces and the FBI: Eric Harroun, 30, a former Army soldier from Phoenix, who was indicted this past June on charges of conspiring to assist a terrorist organization fighting alongside al Nusrah, described by the government as "an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Syria"; and Nicole Lynn Mansfield, 33, a Muslim convert from Flint, Mich., reportedly "slain by Syrian government forces while fighting alongside rebels" in July.

Now, in response to the alleged chemical weapon attacks by Assad's government on Syrian civilians, American and European governments have begun strategizing for likely retaliatory strikes. The problem is that anything that hurts Assad, however inadvertently, benefits those same Islamist radicals we've all been worried about. It is tantamount to defending the very same forces that French Interior Minister Manuel Valls describes as "a ticking time bomb" for the launching of terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States."]

--read it all at IPT.

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