For the Assad regime, any overt connections to al-Qaeda under the violent circumstances the regime is experiencing is a heaven-sent element the terror masters in Damascus have added to their arsenal of propaganda tools. Why? In order to persuade Americans that US military intervention will have dire consequences for American lives. At the same time, the regime is feverishly sending diplomatic signals to the effect that Assad will be able to defeat AQ on his own. For added security measures, the matter was also on the agenda of President Putin upon his visit to Israel on June 25 of this year. Both Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood are claiming al-Qaeda in Syria because it helps Assad remain in power, and the MB to see it is a better Islamist alternative. With no 9/11 history to blemish its reputation.
Iran and Iraq are also lending Assad a hand. Not long ago, Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari told reporters in Baghdad “that Iraq had “solid evidence” that members of the extremist group, who previously had streamed from Syria into Iraq to aid its insurgency, were moving in the opposite direction.” L.A. Times published the story on July 5, 2012.
At the same time, there is also a massive campaign underway by the Muslim Brotherhood and their enabler the Emir of Qatar Hamad al-Thani to confirm AQ has established beachheads on Syria’s front line battles. But unlike Assad, the MB’s reasons center around “If Assad is not deposed and the MB is not given a mandate to govern, you will have to deal with al-Qaeda”. We heard this theme from the head of the Syrian MB back in 2006. Better the MB than al-Qaeda.
There was a period in Syrian politics when Assad had all the power and the MB was labeled the alternative if Assad is deposed. At that time, the liberal Syrian opposition was able to wedge itself in the middle with great difficulty as an alternative to both, with the help of US Officials with sharper vision and greater wisdom. Today, such dreams have vanished. It’s either Assad or the MB and if neither is in control, al-Qaeda, according to both, will make Syria its new base.
How did we get from there to here? A question we keep asking ourselves over and over. We must ask President Obama this question next time he appears in public to speak about Syria. It’s under his watch, and my hope he will not blame something or someone for the Syrian tragedy unfolding.
Furthermore, we have a lot to thank Erdogan and al-Thani for. Without the influence of both, chances would have been higher today that matters could have turned differently in Syria and its future would have been less of concern to us.
How Did We Get From There to Here?