The internationalization of the war in Syria

View Internationalization of Syria’s Civil War in a larger map

Foreign Policy: Last week, on March 25, unnamed foreign and U. S. government officials revealed to the Associated Press that the United States has been secretly training Syrian rebels in Jordan, and the New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence services facilitated large arms purchases for rebel forces by Saudi Arabia. It marked a milestone in the militarization of Syria’s bloody civil war: Barely a week before, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters, “[T]he United States does not stand in the way of other countries that have made a decision to provide arms, whether it’s France or Britain or others.”

The disclosures are a departure from public U.S. policy on Syria, which has attempted to regulate the distribution of arms through a “security coordination committee” without getting embroiled in the conflict. But the U.S. training program and role in procuring arms for rebels are just the latest instances of the internationalization of Syria’s civil war.

In this map, we’ve tried to track some of the international incidents and influences of the Syrian civil war. It is not comprehensive, and suggestions are welcome. It shows an uprising that increasingly travels like an electric current across filaments of ethnic and sectarian identity, regardless of borders. As the power vacuum grows, so will the opportunities for foreign countries to interject themselves further into the conflict. [Continue reading…]

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