October 11, 2012
Rania Abouzeid, Foreign Affairs
Weapons traders are doing a brisk business in Syria. Desperate rebel groups are constantly on the hunt for materiel to keep up the battle against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Yet as the war grinds on -- some estimates list the death toll as high as 30,000, and the United Nations reports as many as 1.5 million displaced people -- the booming weapons trade is aggravating rifts within the armed opposition. Rival FSA commanders are leveraging access to suppliers to exert influence and buy allegiances. And the patronage networks forged in the process could set Syria up for a bloody round of infighting, even after the battle for Damascus is settled.