Will Washington abandon its rebel proxies in Syria? Outsourcing ground operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to Syrian rebels has become the preferred option to secure national security objectives in the country. But it carries the weight of significant moral hazard and has already created a series of political embarrassments for President Obama’s administration. Continued rebel setbacks and volatile political dynamics may lead to a fate similar to Tibet’s U.S.-backed insurgency during the Cold War. Or we can learn from past mistakes and maximize the effectiveness of our proxy engagements in Syria.

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[Photo source: New York Times]