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Monday, 7 July 2014

Barack Obama's Good & Bad Islamists

Senior American politicians (such as the Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio) have just asked Barack Obama to provide Syria's opposition with more money and help. More specifically, they have demanded that the US Congress approve $500 million to train and equip what they call “moderate Syrian rebels”

It's strange that on the one hand America may well be taking military action against Iraq's Sunni Islamists (ISIS); and yet on the other hand it's funding - to the hilt - Sunni Islamists (the Free Syrian Army, etc.) in Syria.

Then again, the UK and US supported Islamists in Egypt (the Muslim Brotherhood) at the same time as fighting against them in other parts of the world (e.g., in west Africa, etc.).

Yes, it's easy to acknowledge that there is indeed a difference between Islamists (such as the members of the Muslim Brotherhood) and hardcore jihadists (such as ISIS and al-Qaeda). However, an argument can be advanced that Islamists are in fact far more dangerous to the West - in the long run - than honest jihadists. (It mustn't be forgotten that the Muslim Brotherhood motto includes these words: “Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!”.) After all, the Muslim Brotherhood had power in Egypt (if only for a short while). It has even managed to firmly embed itself in American politics and civil life. (To a lesser extent, the Muslim Council of Britain has also done this the UK.) In other words, whereas ISIS and other jihadists control fighting forces of up to 15,000 young men, Islamists influence and even control (at least to some extent) nation states across the globe (e.g., the US, UK, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, the Sudan, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza, Kuwait, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Indonesia and so on).

So how does Barack Obama know that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for example, is “moderate”? How did he know that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - prior to 2011 - was moderate? Simply because they told him that they are? Either that, or Obama had a prior sympathy and predilection for the Muslim Brotherhood. (Many sources and much evidence says this is in fact the case.)

The Syrian Sunnis have done a lot canvassing and lobbying in America and they've sold themselves as moderates. Yet actually being moderate and and only selling yourself as being moderate are two different things. (Look at the
Muslim Council of Britain (also Muslim Brotherhood) as proof of that.)

And even if these Sunni “fighters” in Syria were moderate:

i) Is there enough of them to win-out against the tens of thousands of home-grown and foreign jihadists Syria?
ii) How does Obama know the moderates won't be overrun by the jihadists in the (near) future?
iii) How does he know they won't join sides with jihadists in the future? (In fact this has already happened in many instances.)

Again, even if these Obama-friendly Sunni fighters are indeed moderate: that just means
moderate-when-compared-to-the-jihadists. It doesn't mean they believe in Western-style democracy or rights for Syria's Christians, Shia, etc. Many of the so-called moderates believe in sharia law and the Islamisation of Syrian society. In other words, all they've done is put on a nice show – with their suits, ties and trimmed beards (just like CAIR!) - when they've visited Washington and dined with various American leaders.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Syrian Army

The main reason why Barack Obama supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is that it's primarily a Muslim Brotherhood organisation. More specifically, two-thirds of those elected to its new command (as of 2012) were members of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood.

And as just about everyone knows, Obama supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He does so because he deems it to be a moderate movement (at least officially). Thus it follows that Obama will see the Free Syrian Army as a moderate force too.

Historically there has been a long war between the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Syrian Baathists dating back to 1940. Moreover, Bashar Assad continued that war after his father, Hafez Assad, had passed it onto him in 2000. (Take the single case of the 1982 'Hama massacre'; in which between 10,000 and 40,000 people were killed.)

When/if the the Syrian Free Army  (therefore the Muslim Brotherhood)  gains power, Syria will become a fighting front against Israel and a launching pad for Hamas (another Muslim Brotherhood organisation). Thus a Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) Syria may well become far more dangerous to Israel and other countries than Bashar Assad's Syria.

All this must surely mean that the genuine moderates won't win-out in the end. They will either be destroyed/taken over by the jihadists and Islamists; or they will simply go over to them when push comes to shove.

Thus Syria is highly unlikely to be become a pro-Western democracy in the near future. So, in the end, it doesn't matter if two or three members of the FSA are "nice" and believe in progressive lesbian collectives. We must look at all this historically.

In purely military terms, The FSA has around 40,000 fighters. One of its main rivals, the Islamic Front, has 45,000 fighters. And that's only one of FSA's many rivals. Other rivals – or enemies - include ISIS (between 5,000 and 22,000 fighters), the Al Nusra From (15,000 fighters), etc. In fact there are another three Islamic groups (largely unknown in the West) which, between them, have 43,000 fighters. So clearly the FSA is fantastically outnumbered by the other Islamist and jihadist groups fighting in Syria.

And all that's forgetting the 178,000 fighters of Bashar Assad's Syrian Armed Forces; as well as the 60,000 men of his National Defence Force. That means that Assad has 238,000 fighters against the 150,000 or so Islamic fighters of the various Sunni factions. In addition, those 150,000 Islamic fighters are not (on the whole) coordinated; whereas Assad's 238,000 men (on the whole) are.

The Reform Party of Syria (RPS)

In a sense, there are so many “opposition groups” and rival factions in Syria that my focus on the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) may seem a little odd. Nonetheless, as we shall see, the RPS has the ears and finances of many bigwigs in Washington and beyond. Despite that, the RPS now seems to be more or less defunct. 

Primarily, the RSP is a American lobby group. This means that the RPS is really just like CAIR. (A lobby group which has become deeply embedded in American politics: from Washington and the universities all the way to the interfaith circuit and even the US army.)

So what's happening here (with the RPS) is the same as what happened when Washington literally flew in a Shia elite of American lobbyists into Iraq in 2003. Indeed the leader of RPS, Farid (or 'Frank') al-Ghadry can hardly be said to be Syrian at all. (He's been a US citizen since 1975.) The same was true of the Iraqi exile, Ahmad Chalabi, when he was flown into Iraq in 2003. People like Chalabi were mainly Americans/Westerners and, consequently, they were all destroyed – by their fellow Iraqis - within two years (by the 2005 election).

In any case, Frank Ghadry and the RPS have also been classed as "neo-cons" by their enemies and even by some of their friends. Ghadry has also said positive things about Israel; which always goes down like a lead balloon in the Arab world. Thus Ghadry and his outfit wouldn't stand a chance of gaining power in Syria. That's unless the US invaded and put him in power. And then guess what would happen. Yes, it would be Iraq all over again.

Notes on American Thinker Comments

1) I used to be highly suspicious of the "destruction from within" (by Leftists/progressives) idea and thought it somewhat conspiratorial. Nonetheless, now Leftists/progressives constitute the "ruling hegemony" and have done since at least the 1960s. (The "ruling hegemony" was how Leftists once critically and negatively described all the regimes and cultures they didn't, as yet, control.) I'm not saying Leftists control everywhere and everything; just enough to qualify for that Gramscian and Frankfurt School label: the "ruling hegemony".

So bearing in mind Obama's strong attachment to former revolutionary Leftist terrorists (such as the former Weatherman); his support of the Muslim Brotherhood; his fostering of mass disruptive immigration and destruction of the economy; then.....

After all, many revolutionary Leftists gave up on the revolution as long ago as the 1920s - some even before that. They still believe in the Sorelian myth of revolution; though since they've already "taken over the institutions", there's no real need for one anymore. The revolution, like many others, has actually been non-violent (though destructive).

Sure, they have come to live with capitalism at the economic level; though at the cultural and institutional level, Leftists largely have what they want. And indeed if they have the culture and the institutions, then they can still work towards destroying capitalism from within: as with global-warming activists (the new "anti-capitalist" kids on the block), the overloading of the economic system through mass immigration; destabilisation and "radicalisation" through Islamisation and immigration, etc.

2) I'm not a hard-core isolationist. However, I'm most certainly not a "neo-con". Or, more correctly, the neo-con dream of an Americanised Middle East, and Muslim world generally, must be one of the greatest feats of self-deception ever known. That's if it is really all about self-deception. Perhaps other things are involved: a lot of rich, powerful and privileged egotists wanting to flex their geopolitical muscles and go down in history as Great Statesmen.

With Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq/America, and 'Frank' Ghadry of the Reform Party of Syria (which now seems to be dead) in Syria/America, I think is was more about elites of one country getting on very well - thank you - with the elites of another country. A lot of business-dealing was involved too. (In that sense, the Leftists were right.) Indeed most of these "exiles" were more American (by definition) than Iraqi/Syrian - and that's why they never had a chance and never will have a chance.

With the Free Syrian Army, unlike the Syrian Reform Party, it's more about CAIR-like lobbying (in America) than business-dealing and neo-connery.

3) Even though Obama and the Democrat neo-cons (that's not a typo) like to kid themselves that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate (therefore the Free Syrian Army is moderate), they can hardly carry out the miracle of also believing that these Sunni Islamists aren't, well, Islamic.

The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria has been in a religious war with the Shia/Alawite regime in Syria for decades. And that same Muslim Brotherhood, from Egypt to Jordan, has made anti-Shia statements that even make some of the stuff that ISIS and Saudi Arabia have said (about Shia Muslims) seem like tender-hearted interfaith stuff.

A (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood Syria will be a base for Hamas against Israel and also a base for the continuing operations of the on-going Shia-Sunni war. (I say that knowing about Syria's support for Hezbollah, the conflicts over the Golan Heights, Iran, etc.)

Ironically, the closest Syria has come to being Western and democratic is the Bashar Assad regime. If the Sunnis take over, things will only get worse. That's my bet anyway. Sure, they'll get better for the Sunnis of the Middle East - but that will be bad news for everyone else: including the Christians and Shia of Syria.

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