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The Price of Not Leading

1:45 PM, Jun 7, 2013 • By MICHAEL S. DORAN
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Qusayr is hardly the only point where the regime is vulnerable. Half of Aleppo and the entire countryside around it – reaching all the way to the Turkish border – are already in the hands of the rebels. Strong and effective external support, therefore, is all that is needed to remove Syria’s largest city from Assad’s grip.

A pressure points strategy will not strengthen al Qaeda. On the contrary, by building up only vetted units, arms will remain in the right hands. Moreover, the creation of an elite force, backed by the prestige of the United States – would strengthen the non-al-Qaeda rebels, who are desperately in need of rallying point.

Of course, the United States should form a supporting coalition to help implement a more aggressive strategy. France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey are the obvious candidates for such a group. In one way or another, all of them have displayed clear dissatisfaction with the current American policy. The mere creation of such a coalition would therefore hearten both the Syrian opposition and the other regional allies of America. And it would probably also help to defray costs. Who knows? The Gulf Arabs might even foot the entire bill for a more aggressive American policy, just as they did in 1991, after the liberation of Kuwait. That war beat back a tyrant, and it cost the American taxpayer nothing – nothing, that is, but the price of leadership.

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