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Friday, March 29, 2013

The coming internal battle among the Syrian rebels

It's apparently just a matter of time before there are battles between secular and Islamist elements among the Syrian opposition (Hat Tip: The Tower)..
There are signs that Syrian rebels led by the jihadist al-Nusra Front, which Arab sources say has been reinforced by hundreds of foreign Islamists funneled through Iraq, is gaining ground in southern Syria amid growing expectations of a major push on Damascus.
Meantime, Western powers are reported to be moving military equipment to the more secular Free Syrian Army through Jordan, Syria's highly vulnerable southern neighbor.
The Islamist forces, which have made major gains in northern Syria, are largely armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar through Turkey, Syria's northern neighbor.
These events give weight to concerns of a looming showdown in Syria between the rebel rivals that will in all likelihood intensify the tensions already gripping a volatile region torn by political upheaval, insurgencies and sectarian schisms that transcend national boundaries.
The fear is that the growing gulf between the two coalitions in Syria, one Islamist and calling for an Islamic state, the other secular and oriented toward democracy, could lead to a new conflict once the regime of President Bashar Assad is brought down by his overwhelmingly Sunni enemies.
And most observers say that's just a matter of time.

The Tower adds:
Recent weeks have seen the FSA take political losses relative to Islamist hard-liners. Observers are openly talking about the opposition being in political disarray, renewing concerns that the rebels may lack the organizational capability and military means to defeat the Assad regime and end more than two years of fighting.
Colonel Riad al-Asaad, a founder and key figure in the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA), lost a leg this week in an assassination attempt that left him hospitalized but stable. Meanwhile the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front doubled in size after foreign fighters streamed in to fight on behalf of the Islamist group.
Politically the disparity between opposition factions has been even more pointed. Last week the FSA formally rejected the appointment of U.S.-educated Ghassan Hitto to the post of provisional prime minister in the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). SNC head Moaz al-Khatib – who had been prominent in calling on Western powers to arm the FSA and had been seen as a moderate bulwark against hard-line Islamist groups that have increasingly sought to hijack the rebellion – tendered his resignation in response to the appointment.
Aren't things just great when America leads from behind? What could go wrong?

Shabbat Shalom and Moadim l'Simcha.

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At 5:32 AM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Arabs are fundamentally ungovernable. You have two choices: totalitarian police state, or, anarchy. Pick one.


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