"Across the region, al-Qaeda is surging. At the time of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the Sunni jihadist movement had been all but extinguished, thanks to the collaboration of U.S. and Iraqi forces. Now it controls a wide swath of territory in eastern Syria that adjoins Iraq's Anbar province, where Fallujah and Ramadi are located.
"In Lebanon, too, an al-Qaeda-linked force called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades is believed responsible for multiple attacks, including twin bombings outside the Iranian embassy in November. ... According to a study by an Israeli think tank released Thursday, the vast majority of the 6,000 to 7,000 militants to infiltrate the area have joined al-Qaeda-linked groups, including more than 1,000 from Western countries.
"For Mr. Obama, the presence of al-Qaeda has been a reason to withhold U.S. aid to rebels fighting the Assad regime and to reject more forceful measures to bring the war to an end. That policy has left his administration without a strategy for preventing the terrorists from consolidating a safe haven in Syria and extending their influence to Lebanon and Iraq -- where the gains painfully won by U.S. troops are being reversed.
"The administration has supplied some arms and intelligence to Iraqi government forces fighting al-Qaeda, but that is little more than a palliative. Sooner or later the United States will have to face the threat to its vital interests emerging across the Levant."
In other words, the Post's editors -- reflecting Official Washington's continuing neocon hubris -- don't see any need for self-criticism over the invasion of Iraq or for doubts about the wisdom of other U.S. interventions. The editorial contained not a single word about how the Post and the neocons helped light the match which touched off this "slow-motion conflagration."
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