Washington DC – December 4, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog) — Some claim that the secular Assad is a safety valve to contain Islamic extremism in the Levant, others point to Assad’s support of al-Qaeda in Iraq (even though the US has shown every sign of returning its soldiers home), Hezbollah, Hamas and many other smaller factions of terror as reason to punish him, but the supporters counter that the winner is only insuring the spoils of war are his, which lately expanded beyond Lebanon to include planted Ba’athist agents inside the democratic government of Iraq.
Even though all signs point to the reality that Assad’s new gained momentum, mostly earned by trafficking with terrorist organizations and spreading violence as far and as wide, has enlightened Assad to the most effective way to control his destiny, some, in the intelligence community, believe that Assad’s connections to the terror organizations is too valuable not to press him for information by engaging with him effectively.
Whether Assad delivers enough or very little is inconsequential at this point because the same intelligence community believes Assad will eventually deliver these trusting assets when the US engineers his comeback into the western fold and will, for all intended purposes, persuade him to cease to support but the US and its allies. It is a foolproof plan as far as they are concerned because they hold a persuasive card in the military power the US can exercise over Assad.
Meanwhile, as intelligence flows into the US, those who cling to this notion that this flow against Hezbollah and Hamas through direct engagement with the Syrian regime far outweighs Assad’s toying with al-Qaeda and its destructive aims need to take a closer look at the bus explosion of yesterday. Terror organizations know that Assad is trading their secrets with the west and more importantly, they refuse to take Assad at his face value by accepting that Syria under his rule, with its resistance doctrine, can be representative of their extremist cause of a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East.
Even the extremist Shiite regime of Iran, with its Hezbollah ally, mistrusts Assad. They believe that he has delivered Mughnieyeh to Israel in return for support of US engagement and less pressure on his regime. They argue that while Iran is under a global campaign of pressure, all one has to do is watch the news to realize that Syria today gets a free pass on everything, including Assad’s support of al-Qaeda.
To extremist Sunni Muslims, Syria does not speak for Islam anymore than Iran does. It is to Hamas and al-Qaeda’s interests to maintain Assad on their side today for very obvious reasons but when the US starts demanding more than a trickle of intelligence after it leaves Iraq, hell will break loose as it is about to break in the Houthi conflict in Yemen today. The bus explosion is but a small token of things to come.
Anyone who believes that secular Alawite Assad playing the role of a Sunni extremist is a reliable policy with which the west can benefit from must take into account what extremists think. They need to think like Hamas and al-Qaeda before putting all their eggs in the Assad’s basket. And as much as the west ignores the bed Assad shares with al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah because of good intelligence, Assad is thinking how many more beds can he squeeze in his house and how little should I deliver to the west. The bus explosion though casts doubt on how effective the policy of engaging with Assad has been and how the extremists view Assad’s treachery.
There is absolutely no scenario today that can benefit Syria and the west in the long run by engaging with Assad. Unlike what he has promised, Assad cannot flip-flop between the west and be the representative of the extremists at the same time. The smell of treachery cannot escape Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda and sooner than later, many more explosions will take place in Syria, which also we cannot ignore because Syria is 75% Sunni Muslims all willing to partner with the devil to free themselves from the Assad tyranny ignored for too long by the west.
The longer we sustain this policy, the more damage we cause Syria, Syrians, and the west.