Saturday, October 5, 2013


"... Amid what the guidebooks call the ‘stylish and opulent’ surroundings of the Albergo hotel in Beirut, a western diplomat was briefing journalists. The room was all Persian rugs and wing-backed chairs. Waiters hovered. The official was his government’s main conduit to the Syrian rebels. I asked him what percentage of the rebels western countries could support: what percentage were not jihadis, not committing human rights abuses, looting or kidnapping — and were militarily effective?There was a silence. Finally, he said: ‘Thirty per cent.’ It was a devastating admission. Then he paused and said he had been considering only the first three criteria. Adding in military effectiveness, you would have to say the West could support only 10 per cent..."

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