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The Obama administration's decision to seek $500 million to train and fund elements of the Syrian opposition has been greeted with bipartisan support in Washington.The general consensus is that if the administration had done this three years ago, the situation in Syria would not have turned into a sectarian civil war. In fact, radical Islamists have been the core of the opposition to the Assad regime from the very beginning, decades ago.Syria has been unstable from its birth. Between its independence in 1946 and Assad's coup, there were around 10 other coups and attempted coups. Today, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, there are about 1,500 separate insurgent groups in Syria, with between 75,000 and 115,000 insurgents. Unfortunately these people barely had contact with, let alone influence over, the actual groups fighting in Syria.When it crosses the (now-nonexistent) border between Iraq and Syria and battles the Assad regime, it is aligned with America's stated goal of regime change in Damascus.
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