In Syria the Sands of Time are Pouring against the West
SUNDAY, 04 AUGUST 2013 16:48 ABED MOSTAPHA
“The US and the West are not waiting for the opposition to restructure politically or to possess military discipline, but are waiting to see clearly who will win and when in Syria. While waiting though, they lose both in Syria and in the region.”–Ufuk Ulutaş
If at the outset of the Syrian conflict one was to mention that the West was aiding and abetting Assad, very few would have believed. Thirty months on it is now vividly clear, America and its western allies are not only supporting Assad’s tyrannical rule, but are eagerly hoping that for their sake, Assad is victorious in the protracted conflict with the opposition.
Last month, the British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC that Britain would not provide arms to the Syrian opposition— as some elements are too radical for the West’s liking—and in his estimate Assad was much stronger than before. He said,” I think he [Assad] may be stronger than he was a few months ago, but I’d still describe the situation as a stalemate. And yes, you do have problems with part of the opposition that is extreme, that we should have nothing to do with.” America’s assessment of the situation in Syria echoed similar sentiments. “Currently, the tide seems to have shifted in his [Assad] favour,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 18, 2013. Even the US Defence Intelligence Agency revised its earlier prediction that Assad would fall early this year. Deputy Director David Shedd of the Defence Intelligence Agency said, “My concern is that it could go on for a long time…It is in large measure a stalemate.” So how is it possible that Assad who was once on the verge of being toppled is now going to stay in power for a long time?
This could only have happened with outside powers conniving with each other to prop-up Assad’s precarious rule. The failure of different political initiatives such as Kofi Annan’s six point plan, the Lakhdar Brahimi plan and presently the much coveted Geneva talks was intentional. These political initiatives were specifically designed to buy precious time for Assad to halt a series of military defeats at the hands of the Islamic opposition, and to overturn battlefield gains made by them in his favour. Assad was not able to accomplish this without tacit support from Washington, uninterrupted weapons supply from Russia, Chinese intransigence at the UN, targeted air strikes from Israel to prevent the opposition taking sensitive arms, and dogged military support from Iran and Hezbollah.
To underline the assistance from this odd group of political powers and their respective surrogates is America’s determined effort not to intervene in the conflict. In July 2013, US General Dempsey described in detail all the military options most of which would require “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers,” and cost “in the billions.” Again the intention behind such statements was not to only frighten the US Congress and the American people from supporting intervention, but to allow the status quo in Syria to continue, especially in the wake of recent gains made by Assad’s forces. Assad’s change in fortunes has also put on hold West’s flirtation with idea of arming pro-western Syrian fighters via the Syrian Support Group (SSG). On August 1, 2013 the Daily Telegraph reported: “The West had hoped the SSG, founded in the US in December 2011, would channel support to these moderate elements within the Syrian uprising and in May last year it was granted a coveted Treasury licence allowing it to skirt American sanctions on the country. But private donations dried up after the US State Department warned the SSG that its funds could not be used for weapons.”
What galvanises and unites such disparate major powers along with arch-enemies Israel, Iran, the GCC and Hezbollah is their collective fear of the return of the Caliphate at the hands of the sincere Muslims of Syria. For instance, the leader of the Syrian jihadist group Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) recently declared that his group was in favour of establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Syria. It is precisely such declarations that petrify Cameron, Obama, Putin and Netanyahu and their surrogates in Tehran and in the capitals of the Gulf countries.
Indeed what is transpiring in Syria today is nothing short of a conflict that has taken on the appearance of a world war being waged against poorly equipped Muslims! And after thirty months of waging fierce battles, America and its allies have failed to crush the uprising. Instead, Western leaders are quick to acknowledge that a stalemate is taking shape on the ground in Syria.
It is this very fact that is extremely heartening for the Muslim Ummah and dispels the oft painted stereotype picture that Muslims are too weak to stand up to America. The Syrian conflict proves the exact opposite, and when combined with American failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, it puts to shame the collective feeble excuses offered by the rulers of the Muslim world that they cannot stand up to America. Indeed, it is this very notion of inferiority to the West that is being challenged and swept aside in Syria with the rest of the Muslim world following suit.
As the Muslim masses become increasingly emboldened to publicly reassert their love for political Islam either through civil disobedience, the ballot box or through the taking up of arms, the existing secular order presided over by the West for the past ninety-odd years is looking both insecure and unmanageable. It will no longer be a surprise if Syria is the first domino to fall to the Caliphate. The real shock, however, would be the failure of the world powers to use all of their political guile and military might to stop it happening in the first place.
1st August 1 2013
23rd Ramadan 1434