Let me add two other points:
–The U.S. government backed the previous opposition “leadership,” the Syrian National Council, which was formed as a result of American initiative operating through Islamist Turkey. The fact that this council had a Muslim Brotherhood majority in the leadership did not deter the Obama Administration from proclaiming it to be the address for support. Only when the council had clearly failed–and despite the fact that months earlier several moderates had resigned complaining about Brotherhood domination–did the U.S. government change strategy to organizing a new, also Muslim Brotherhood dominated group.
–American intelligence agents in southern Turkey supervise the handover of weapons to the rebels. They make no attempt to stop arms from going to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists while they make no attempt to funnel the guns to moderates. The only restriction is that they not go to al-Qaida affiliated Salafists. One day those guns will be used to commit unspeakable atrocities against Christians and other minority groups just as they will be used to install an Islamist regime and kill or intimidate its opponents.
How has the United States handled this threat? Well, it declared one Salafi group off-limits because it is linked to al-Qaida. That’s it.
As Spyer points out, there has been and still is an alternative: for the West to back non-Islamist leaders including liberals, Arab nationalists, and Kurdish nationalist forces. Such a strategy was not pursued either in Egypt or in Tunisia.
So when Syria gets an anti-Western, antisemitic, and anti-democratic (aside from holding elections) regime don’t be surprised. You can read it in the surprised and grudging admissions of the Western mass media a year or two after this regime takes power or you can know about it right now.
This outcome might have been inevitable any way but I don’t think that’s true. A vigorous policy of supplying non- and anti-Islamist forces while doing nothing to help the Brotherhood and Salafist militias plus the formation of a non-Islamist dominated political grouping that would receive Western aid could have produced a very different result.
But Western and especially Obama Administration policy is now putting into power yet another anti-Western regime that will oppress its own people and put a high priority on trying to wipe out Israel.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.Barry Rubin
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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