- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2013

America should end its intervention in Syria or shift its support to President Bashir Assad. Iraq-based al Qaeda militants now control the rebellion. A shadowy terrorist named Baghdadi has moved from Iraq to northern Syria to control al Qaeda’s operations there. He is a grotesque savage, determined to compel acceptance of radical Islam through religious courts and executions.

Under his influence, rebels have begun sharing online videos of atrocities, including public executions of captured soldiers. This week, a rebel leader proudly cannibalized a Syrian soldier for all to see. If Syria falls, these barbarians would unleash rape and bloodletting of epic proportions.

Ten years of Middle East conflict has inflamed radical forces, driving Christians and Jews from lands they occupied for thousands of years. In the time of St. Peter, Damascus may have been the most Christianized place on Earth. And despite hundreds of years of Islamic dominance, Syria still remains 10 percent Christian.

Christians are protected by Mr. Assad, just as they were by his father before him. They and the ruling Alawite Muslims are understandably frightened by the bloodthirsty executions and cannibalism of the rebels.

In Libya and Egypt, the fruits of the “Arab Spring” have proved poisonous. The revolutions destroyed stability, moderation and religious tolerance.

U.S. military intervention ended badly in Libya. Our ambassador was killed, and 20,000 Libyan anti-aircraft missiles went missing; they may still be in rebel hands. If al Qaeda topples Syria, they will capture large stocks of chemical weapons to deploy against Israel and the West.

The United States is reportedly training and equipping the rebels. Requiring GIs to aid al Qaeda directly or indirectly is a despicable betrayal of their years of bloody battles against that terrorist force. Continued support for the Syrian rebels is simply immoral. It is time for the United States to stand down.

SEN. RICHARD H. BLACK

Member, Virginia General Assembly

Ashburn, Va.