Published for the Times of Israel (Holy-wood in Syria)
According to Western intelligence sources, a titanic clash is about to go down around the Minakh Air Base recently captured by the Rebels in Aleppo.
Apparently, some of the elements involved in capturing the Air Base belong to the most brutal of al-Qaeda members pouring from Chechnya, and, according to the same sources, Assad and Hezbollah are preparing to meet them on the field for the first time in Aleppo.
So, grab your popcorn, you are about to witness Holy-wood in Syria.
Just imagine, the most extremist and the most militant of both branches of Islam are about to tango to the sound of bullets; one trained by Farsi Iran to defend against Sunni Arabs and the other Sunni Russians trained by fighting the mother lode in Christian Russia. Who would want to miss this, right?
Those of us sitting in the balcony observing, but also wishing for no winners and a towering battle to kill all the losers, need to pause for a moment to reflect on an important issue.
When Assad exploited the free time the West accorded him in the aftermath of the Syrian Uprising of March 2011, he regrouped, planned, and implemented a diabolic strategy to stimulate an old debate: if not me, it is the Islamists.
Meanwhile, the US wasted time in endless debates and foolish dithering on Syria, which resulted in allowing the Assad regime to follow on its promises to regionalize the conflict and render it sectarian to its core. This led to the closure of US Embassies in the Muslim world due to an energized al-Qaeda Assad impregnated with incessant ethnic cleansing of Sunnis his para-military troops executed and publicized widely as part of his strategy.
Why and how AQ has re-emerged as strong as before does not seem to be a question anyone wants to ask because of a bunker mentality prevailing in Washington across almost all the political ideologies. Indeed, have you noticed how the Syrian civil war wrecks the harmony amongst like-minded people the same way the thorny issue of the NSA collection of data does, but with infinitely more complex problems to ponder.
Unless the strategy was to create an environment that would facilitate the rise of more extremist elements, why in the world the West could not foresee the folly of its action, or lack of, when it was necessary to intervene in Syria in favor of empowering liberal military defectors able to clean house with their own blood and Gulf money. Way before Assad was able to create the monstrosities before us.
Was our intent to rally more extremism or to nip it out of existence? The West looks like a foolish gardener allowing weeds to grow in Syria just to record the experiment at a high cost in human lives. Is this entertainment watching the clash of the Islamist titans or is this a case of simpletons making important political decisions to affect our lives directly?
How could Syria, with its new, pre-911 Afghanistan potential to reproduce an endless supply of uncontrollable battle-hardened fanatics, be any source of comfort for the US or Russia? This is not a chum poker game we are playing. Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin must push Assad out to help stem the tide.
All of us know Assad will not attempt to kill all the Islamist extremists fighting in Syria today in the hope they all return home to the Netherlands, Germany, USA, France, Britain, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to practice their warfare against their own people and Governments. Just imagine the glee on his face giving another interview. This, by far, will be his ultimate revenge to feed into his instinctive savagery.
Yet, Washington still does not get it.
Unfortunately, as much as we all support the decision to protect US Diplomats and all Western assets in the Muslim world, anyone with a half brain knows Washington could have avoided becoming an easy target of bullies if it wore its boxing gloves instead of a perfume.