If this cartoon seems complicated, that’s because it is. With nearly all attention focused on the latest headline-grabbing statement by Donald Trump or a suction-cupped Trump Tower climber (fun stuff, I admit), it’s important to remember that there are real issues, real suffering and extreme complexity in the world. A simplistic, seat-of-the-pants style will not translate well to foreign policy, particularly when it comes to Syria.
While we’ve been live-streaming the tower climber and his suction cups, millions of people in Syria are facing war, death and siege conditions. What is being called the “most crucial battle” of Syria’s civil war has been going almost unnoticed here in the United States. Besides that, the convoluted alliances and ever-changing battle lines are mind boggling.
Small militant groups that have received TOW antitank missiles from the United States have taken part in a unified rebel victory (for now) that successfully broke through Syrian government lines around Aleppo. But it’s much, much messier and more complex than that. The opposition militants are fighting together, which means that groups vetted and supplied by the US are working with extremist militants who are on the terrorist hit list— so the main force that is helping break the brutal Assad siege of Aleppo, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly the Al Qaeda-aligned Al-Nusra Front), may be targeted by US warplanes. (It’s like a proxy war against Russia where we occasionally work together, depending on the mood.) At any rate, dig deeper into the news stories behind the cartoon and be sure to visit my Patreon page!