19/10/2012

Syria Is Falling Into The Hands Of The Jihadists. Is International Intervention On The Cards?

Syria rebelsMehmet Ali writes from Doha: Qatar is increasingly influencing events in Syria. Washington calculates that many of the weapons which end up in the hands of jihadists emanate from Qatar. Needless to say this troubles the Americans. General David Petraeus, the CIA director, secretly visited Turkey recently to do some on the spot investigation. He knows the region well as a former American commander in chief. Most disturbing for Washington is the confused situation in Syria. No coherent central command of the rebel forces has been established. The West would like secular forces to prevail. The situation now is that they are being crowded out by Islamists. However the latter have no overall plan for Syria after Al Assad falls. They often fight among themselves in an effort to achieve dominance. In this chaotic situation, extremism flourishes. The danger is that Syria will fragment and be ruled by various groups. Inevitably they will fight to take control of the whole country.


So what will Washington do? Nothing until after the November 6 presidential election. At present the Americans provide intelligence, training how to use equipment and so on. Britain will supply non-lethal supplies. The game changer would be to provide the anti-aircraft and anti-tank weaponry which the rebels crave. But which rebels? Almost certainly they would end up in the wrong hands – the Islamists would benefit most. So what is the solution? Form a task force armed with these weapons and invade Syria. This group would have an action programme run by a commander outside the country. They would provide the nucleus of the post Al Assad government.


This task force would have to be composed of Syrian and other Muslim fighters. At present the Free Syrian Army is incapable of providing the leadership and discipline needed to overthrow the present regime. Its forces are too disparate and divided. However most elements in the rebel army are Islamist. This is the main reason why it is so ineffective. The army is at war with itself. Rival factions devote more effort to outmanoeuvre their opponents than fighting the regime. They take it for granted that Al Assad is doomed so are fighting for influence in the new Syria. They have no intention of helping their opponents become stronger now as this would weaken them in the post-Al Assad world.


QatarQatar appears to favour an Islamist Syria after Al Assad. The thinking may be that if the jihadists are helped to take over Syria, Qatar will be able to influence policy. Syria is bankrupt and being systematically destroyed. It will require huge amounts of aid to rebuild the shattered country. Qatar and also Saudi Arabia have the financial reserves to step in. The problem for Qatar is to identify the Islamists who are capable of winning and keeping power afterwards. Syria is in chaos so how do the Qataris identify their group? They may be arming, directly or indirectly, several jihadist groups.


So there are two civil wars raging in Syria: one against the regime and the other for dominance among the rebels. How long will this situation prevail before there is international intervention? Will Turkey be the first to seize the initiative?


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Syria Is Falling Into The Hands Of The Jihadists. Is International Intervention On The Cards? by Alexander an image originally shared on Stirring Trouble Internationally - A humorous take on news and current affairs http://www.stirringtroubleinternationally.com
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