Originally published at Rubin Reports.
In his recent article, “The Revolt of Islam in Syria” (Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2012) Jonathan Spyer, a senior fellow at the GLORIA Center, points out compelling information about the new Western-backed leadership in Syria.
The bottom line: If this is Syria’s new government, then Syria now has an Islamist regime. This is happening with the knowledge and collaboration of the Obama Administration and a number of European governments. It is a catastrophe and one that’s taking place due to the deliberate decisions of President Barack Obama and other Western leaders. Even if one rationalizes the Islamist takeover in Egypt as due to internal events, this one is U.S.-made.
As Spyer points out, U.S. and European policy can be summarized as follows:
“To align with and strengthen Muslim Brotherhood-associated elements, while painting Salafi forces as the sole real Islamist danger. At the same time, secular forces are ignored or brushed aside.”
The new regime, recognized by the United States and most European countries, as the legitimate leadership of the Syrian people, is the Syrian National Coalition, which has also established a military council.
Spyer’s detailed evidence for these arguments–much of which comes from raw wire service reports, praise is due to Reuters in this case–is undeniable. And if we know about these things there’s no doubt that the highest level of the U.S. government does so as well.
Why is this happening? Because Obama and others believe that they can moderate the Muslim Brotherhood and it will tame the Salafists, despite massive evidence to the contrary. This is the biggest foreign policy blunder of the last century and the cost for it will be high. It should be stressed that such a strategy is totally unnecessary and the alternatives have been ignored, the real moderates are being betrayed.
Here is some of the proof for these assertions:
–“The founder of the Free Syrian Army, former Syrian Air Force Colonel Riad Asaad, is notably absent [from the leadership]. General Mustafa al-Sheikh, the first of his rank to defect to the rebels, is also not there. Sheikh is known for his fierce opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hussein Haj Ali, the highest ranking officer to defect so far, was similarly absent.” These men are all anti-Islamists.
–“A Reuters report on the new joint military council calculated that the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies account for about two-thirds of the 263 men who met in Antalya and formed the new body. Salafi commanders are also there.” In other words, the Islamists will get the overwhelming share of weapons provided under U.S. sponsorship, Turkish oversight, and Qatari and Saudi financing. And the United States has not objected to the arming of Salafist super-extremists as long as they aren’t affiliated to al-Qaida.
–“The new council is headed by Brigadier Selim Idriss, who is described as a non-ideological military man. But his deputies, Abdel-basset Tawil of Idleb and Abdel-Qader Saleh of Aleppo governate are associated with the Salafi trend.” In other words, there’s a non-Islamist front man for what will be an Islamist-controlled army.
–“The domination by the Muslim Brotherhood of the new military council mirrors the movement’s leading position in the new civilian leadership body – the Syrian National Coalition. The leader of this coalition is Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib, former Imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.
“Khatib is closely associated with the Damascus Branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The leader of the new coalition has a long history of antisemitic, anti-Western and anti-Shia remarks. (He praised Saddam Hussein, for example, for “terrifying the Jews” and wrote an article asking if Facebook was an “American-Israeli intelligence website.”) He is also an admirer of the Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood preacher Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
–“Within the body headed by Khatib, the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian National Council controls around 27 of the 65 seats on the executive body of the new coalition. There are also Islamists and fellow travelers among the non-SNC delegates. The Brotherhood is by far the best organized single body within the coalition. One secular delegate at the first full meeting of the coalition accused the MB of ‘pushing more of its hawks into the coalition, although it already has half of the seats.’”
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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