Dealing with the Devil in Syria

By IndepthAfrica
In Middle East
Aug 3rd, 2012
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A video circulating this week of Syrian rebels shouting “Allahu akbar” and executing four Assad partisans has horrified many in the West, but there have been numerous indications before this that the resistance to the Assad regime is not made up of the democratic pluralists of mainstream media myth.

Not surprisingly, that hasn’t stopped Barack Obama. According to Reuters Wednesday, he “has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.”

This will meet with bipartisan support. Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly wondered last week in the mainstream Republican Weekly Standard: “Why hasn’t President Obama intervened militarily in Syria? After all, this is a president who issued a directive last year stating that a ‘core’ national security interest of the United States would be to prevent mass atrocities of precisely the kind Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is now unleashing on his own people. And this is a president who, to his credit, helped remove Muammar Qaddafi from power.”

Schmitt and Donnelly appear untroubled by the fact that the new leadership of Libya is made up of Muslim Brotherhood Sharia supremacists who, as they impose the fullness of Islamic law upon Libya, will impose all of Sharia’s legal oppression of women, non-Muslims, ex-Muslims, and others, and are certain to be no friend of the United States. And now they want Barack Obama to enable a similar regime to come to power in Syria. Their call for him to do so didn’t mention the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaeda, of course. Instead, they give the impression that they accept the prevailing mainstream media myth, that the anti-Assad forces in Syria are Western-style pluralist democrats, as they were advertised as being in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

They aren’t any such thing in Syria, any more than they were in those other “Arab Spring” countries. John Cantlie, a British photographer, and his Dutch colleague, Jeroen Oerlemans, were recently kidnapped by Islamic supremacist rebels in Syria who threatened to murder them unless they converted to Islam. Significantly, they noted that where they were held, the rebel fighters were Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Chechens, with nary a Syrian in sight – a clear indication that jihadis from all over the world had traveled to Syria to participate in what they considered to be a jihad there: the uprising against the Assad regime. “As soon as Assad has fallen,” Oerlemans declared, “these fighters want to introduce Islamic law, Sharia, in Syria.”

Another sign of the jihadist character of the Syrian rebels is the rampant persecution of Christians. The Christians in Syrian generally tend to favor the Alawite Assad regime, which despite its repressive character is still a Ba’athist, generally secular regime that accords Christians more rights than they would enjoy in a Sharia state. “We’re too frightened to talk,” one Christian told an inquiring journalist. “Last summer Salafists came to Qusayr, foreigners. They stirred the local rebels against us. They sermonized on Fridays in the mosques that it was a sacred duty to drive us away. We were constantly accused of working for the regime. And Christians had to pay bribes to the jihadists repeatedly in order to avoid getting killed.” Another added: “Anyone who believes in this cross suffers.”

Thousands of Christians have been displaced from their homes, and others have left Syria altogether. Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Philip Tournyol Clos lamented: “The picture for us is utter desolation. The church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels. Christian homes are severely damaged due to the fighting and completely emptied of their inhabitants, who fled without taking anything.”

They have done so in the face of increasing jihadist assertiveness. In mid-July, a group calling itself the Brigade of Islam claimed responsibility for a bombing that murdered several key Syrian officials, including the nation’s defense minister and Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has said that he believes that al-Qaeda was responsible for this bombing – and certainly it is active among the Syrian rebel forces.

The main beneficiary, however, of the toppling of Assad could be the Muslim Brotherhood. Syria Brotherhood chief Mohammad Riad Shakfa has said that after “long years of repression by the regime,” the movement has its best-ever chance to seize power there. The ANSAmed news agency explains: “The biggest force on the Syrian National Council, which is the West’s main opposition interlocutor, and very influential in the Syrian Free Army, the Muslim Brotherhood is supported by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also a Sunnite, and whom Assad accuses of fomenting a religious war in his country. If Syria were to follow the Egyptian model post-Assad, the country’s next leader might well be from the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Of course, Barack Obama enabled the new Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt to take power, and has warmly supported it despite increasing signs that it intends to impose Sharia, continue the repression of Christians that has been rampant in Egypt since the beginning of the “Arab Spring,”  and even go to war with Israel. So why should Syria be any different? And indeed, it is not: in both cases, the United States is applauding and abetting the installation of regimes that will not show any gratitude toward its patrons in Washington, but which will instead pursue a jihadist course that is almost certainly to mean decades of strife and bloodshed to come.

If Jimmy Carter had any vestigial moral sense, he would deeply regret his active role in enabling the advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And if Barack Obama has any, he should likewise one day regret his role in the advent of Islamic supremacist Sharia states in Egypt and Syria. But however those men view their sorry legacy, conservatives of all camps should not make the mistake of supporting U.S. intervention on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies in Syria.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available.

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