Sat Dec 28th, 2013 at 09:33:06 AM EST
In the first decade of the 21st century, Israel and the US were focused on breaking Syrian influence over Lebanon. The Lebanon civil war and a decade of Israeli occupation left parts of Lebanon in shambles. Syria was asked by the UN to step in and provide security. The Syrian regime and Hezbollah became natural allies and the Saudis tried by subversion to put their hold on the Sunni minority groups in both Lebanon and Syria. The Hariri assassination in 2005 became a rallying call to oust Syria from Lebanon. It didn't stop there. At first the EU and the US (John Kerry) tried to persuade Bashar Assad to reform his authoritarian regime to allow opposition voices be heard and put in place steps for building democracy. The EU offered economic partnerships dependent on political reform. Under President George Bush and Secretary Condoleeza Rice, diplomatic steps were not an option and Syria became an enemy of the US, being an ally of Iran the next target of Israel and US war plans.
In early 2011, the so-called Arab Spring and the revolt in Homs, Syria, became an opportunity for regime change and getting rid of the inherent evil dictator Bashar Assad. Taking great pride in the "successes" of Tunisia, Libya amd Egypt, the Western colonial powers and the US united with Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf states to overthrow Assad. The miscalculation would result in a pro-longed civil/sectarian war with over 125,000 persons killed and millions of Syrians uprooted, displaced or crossing borders as refugees. The military stalemate has been reached and the devastation and destruction of Syria is unimagineable.
The security for the state of Israel has certainly not improved and may make any peace settlement with the Palestinian people more difficult. Of course, opinion makers in Israel just look forward without remorse to the making of a catastrophy Israel was part of. Even Netanyahu has admitted in secret talks with the Assad regime, Israel was close to a deal for a peaceful settlement and return of (part of) the Golan Heights.
○ New Yorker: Strategic Shift in US Policy Benefitting Our Enemies by Seymour Hersh
○ Syria Drama In the Making - the Bush and Obama Years 2005-2013
Continued below the fold - Israeli opinion today: Saving Bashar Assad.
Saving Bashar Assad by Dr. David Bukay
(JPost) - From the first day, the so-called "Arab Spring" was in fact a dark anarchic Islamic winter. Yet, the media has disseminated the idea -- as if the internet, Facebook, and Twitter have produced a new situation in the Middle East: a young Arab generation that adopts Western ideals and yearns for democratic values, civil rights, and freedoms. Unfortunately this was just another wishful thinking, a mirror image, a cultural ignorance even a stupidity. In reality, this dark anarchic Islamic winter symbolizes the demise of the Arab state and the retreat towards primordialism. It is not a step forward towards democracy and open modern societies, but a huge retreat to stagnation and Islamism.
This situation takes its highest toll in Syria, where it has become not only a failed state but a demolished one. At the start, the Syrian violence of deep upheaval was not an internal war between an oppressive regime against democratic opposition supported by the people, but against al-Qaida affiliated groups from all over the world that are now concentrating in Syria. It is symbolized by the call of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida , that Syria is now the most important Islamic front, and victory there means the advent of al-Qaida to regional even world hegemony. Indeed, what we see in Syria are domestic anarchic groups and external ones form Iraq; Lebanon; AQAP al-Qaida Arabian Peninsula); AQIM (al-Qaida Islamic Maghreb); from Afghanistan; Pakistan; Chechnya; Turkmenistan; even from China. Syria is physically demolished; and its cities are ruined, with millions of refugees fleeing to the neighboring states.
The scope and amount of the groups, majority of them are al-Qaida Affiliated groups, is long, exhausting and terrifying. A short list includes the following: Jabhat al-Nusra, the biggest al-Qaida affiliated group; Qatā'ib Ahrār al-Shām; `Usbat Liwā' al-Tawhīd; `Usbab Qatā'ib al-Haqq; Fath al-Islām; Qatā'ib Abdallah Azām; `Usbat al-Ansār; Qatā'ib Shuhadā' al-Barā' Ibn Mālik; Qatā'ib Umar al-Faruq; Jaish al-Islām; Qatā'ib al-Ansār; and al-Majlis al-Thawri. Jabhat al-Tahrīr includes over ten Salafī-Takfīrī sub-groups; and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, includes the same. Some other groups are organized under al-Jabha al-Islāmiyah; and Ahfād Qatā'ib al-Rasul, with four groups. There are also Jihadi converted Muslims from Europe, Africa, and the US, recruited and organized by Abu Ahmed al-Iraqi. The last estimation by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization in London is that between 3,300 and 11,000 foreigners from 70 nations are fighting now against Assad.
Syrian rebel leader was bin Laden's courier, now Zawahiri's representative
Translation of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri's letter to the leaders of the two Jihadi groups in Syria (the Levant)
Dear brother/ Sheikh Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Huseini and his brothers in the Shura of the Islamic State in Iraq; May Allah protect them.
Dear brother/ Sheikh Abou Mohamed al-Joulani [reports of his death] and his brothers in the Shura of Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Sham; May Allah protect them.
Peace and blessings be upon you and those around you, may Allah join us upon what he likes and chooses of worldly bounties and triumph in the hereafter.
[Read on ...]
- The proponents of Jihad were all dismayed by the dispute that occurred on the media between our beloved brothers in the Islamic state of Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Sham.
- We have neither been asked for authorisation or advice, nor have we been notified of what had occurred between both sides. Regrettably, we have heard the news from the media.
- At the outset, I have to remind all the Mujahidin and all Muslims of the role played by the Islamic State in Iraq in aborting the crusaders' plot for occupying and splitting the heart of the Islamic world, along with repelling of the elite Rafidhi expansion that aimed at dominating the Levant, Iraq and the Arab Peninsula.
We have to admit the good deeds done by our brothers; in particular, their Emir Sheikh Abou- Bakr al-Baghdadi in supporting Jihad in al-Sham by sending in the most capable fighters and money, to alleviate their suffering. We have admired our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra who were praised, along with their Emir Sheikh Abi Mohamed al-Joulani, by Sheikh Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- I have to remind all the Mujahidin and all Muslims of the job done by our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra for the people of the Levant in reviving the obligation of Jihad and their revival of the Umma hopes in liberating al-Aqsa and soon reinstating the Khilafa, by the will of Allah. We also praise them for repelling the Batini and secular Rafidhi aggression against the backlog of Islam in our beloved Levant. We also appreciate their praise to their brothers in the Islamic State in Iraq for the support they had offered.
« click for story on AQ Mali threat
Exclusive media interview, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, speaks to Al Jazeera