As the Syrian state unravels, the United States and other Western powers are finding it increasingly difficult to see how they can stem the rise of jihadist organizations like al-Qaida and the Islamic State (IS), while limiting the unfolding humanitarian and security disaster that has left more than 200,000 dead and made refugees of close to 10 million people so far.

The extent of the current U.S. predicament in Syria has been made clear by the Defense Department, which on June 18 reported that attempts to recruit a small rebel force of 5,000 fighters from the largely Sunni Arab population of Syria that would be both “moderate” and willing to devote itself to fighting IS continue to falter. After months of effort, no more than “100 to 200” such individuals willing to join the U.S. effort have been identified. In Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s words: “It turns out to be very hard to identify people who meet both of those criteria.”  … click here to read more 

Ofir Haivry is Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem. Yoram Hazony is President of the Herzl Institute and author of The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul. / Tablet ©2015