The problem is what is meant by "linked." Depending on how you define your terms, you can "link" anybody to anything. The whole "Keven Bacon" game and all that.
There is no question that there are militant jihadists taking part in these conflicts. There is no question that there are also plenty of far more reasonable folks who are also taking part.
In the Cold War, the U.S. made the mistake of supporting ANYBODY, no matter how vile, who said they were anti-communist. Sometimes we kept the commies out, sometimes we failed. But we always created a lot of hatred and bitterness in the local populations by supporting their oppressors (in places where there were oppressive regimes). We need to avoid repeating that.
We definitely need to avoid repeating that. Personally, I don't think the US has any idea what is going on in
the mideast with all the uprisings. It is going to be interesting, when all the dust settles, in the next couple of