Using Western- and Arab-supplied arms smuggled in for the Syrian rebels from Turkey and Lebanon, the jihadists are taking up positions on the Israeli and Jordanian borders while also assuming control over the Yarmouk River and its tributaries.
Water in the Middle East has caused the outbreak of more than one armed conflict. And indeed 50 years ago, Israel and Israel fought a war, including aerial dogfights, to dominate that same Yarmouk River. The dispute was finally resolved when the United States stepped in and brokered an agreement for the distribution of its waters among Syria, Israel and Jordan.
Alarm over Nusra Front territorial gains has accordingly taken precedence over the chemical threat in the deliberations of the joint US-Israeli, US-Jordanian and US-Turkish command centers.
Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing has even been able to obtain from Iraqi jihadists its own stock of primitive chemicals - but weapons nonetheless.
The West hesitated too long before cutting off the supply of arms to the Syria rebels; it is already too late to prevent al Qaeda occupying international border regions and seizing control of an important regional water source. Dislodging them would call for a military offensive proper - which seems to be the rationale for the large military field hospital Israeli set up this week on its Golan border with Syria...