Syria: A Different View
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Expert on Pakistan and Afghanistan Issues
What is really going on in Syria? How the future of Syria will be played out? How do the domestic, regional, and international actors define their desirable futures in this country? There are tens of questions more important than these already raised which infuse Syria’s future with grave ambiguities and uncertainties. The analyses and comments about Syria’s developments are so varied and at times contradictory that one may be confused by the accuracy or inaccuracy of them. Nevertheless, the last statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda leader, demanding everyone to go to Syria in order to support the Syrian oppositions expresses a quite different view from what has been formerly articulated.
The fact that al-Qaeda is under the extreme pressure of the US drones strikes as well as a probable full-scale attack by the Pakistan Army is not quite questionable and subject to argument. Thus, it is not difficult to predict that al-Qaeda linked groups will be forced to leave the tribal areas in case the Pakistan Army achieves domination over the region; however, the main argument is that where exactly the al-Qaeda forces will move from North Waziristan. Apparently, Ayman al-Zawahiri has solved the problem with his demand for al-Qaeda groups to move to Syria and other Arab crisis-stricken countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Therefore, it can be expected that the more pressures upon al-Qaeda linked groups in North Waziristan heighten, the more they will be inclined to leave the tribal areas and move the forces to Syria. But this is not the whole story and it is suspected that there are more complicated objectives behind these developments; objectives that may not be easily accepted at the first glance. Now, the question is that is the United States trying to pave the way for al-Qaeda forces to enter Syria in an intentional effort? If there is such a possibility, one can conceive that the US is playing a game in Syria in which whatever the outcome of the game in the Syrian crisis is, one of the US’s enemies will be weakened. One should move beyond the mentality that once al-Qaeda had enjoyed the support of the United States. Al-Qaeda has never denied its connections to the CIA, but that is related to the era of their fight against the Russians, when a powerful, global alliance was formed against the occupation of Afghanistan, in which the Islamic countries beside the US and the West were supporting the jihadists. Al-Qaeda’s 11 September attacks on the Twin Towers of World Trade Center put a definite end to those types of relationships and since then al-Qaeda flexed its muscles as the US enemy. Syria, too, as a country which is a major supporter of Resistance Front ageist Israel and is supported by Iran, Russia, and China is regarded as the US and Israel’s enemy.
Therefore, who will benefit if two chief enemies of the United States namely the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda fight in Syria and thus undermine each other? Is the US deliberately creating a space to confronting the two enemies with each other? Each side that may face defeat in Syria, this country will no longer remain in the foremost lines of the Resistance Front. It may be assumed that Ayman al-Zawahiri is right indeed and he regards al-Qaeda’s seizing of power in Syria a prelude to a serious confrontation with Israel and the liberation of al-Quds. But will the al-Qaeda forces be granted this opportunity and space in Syria to act that way or the objective of this plan for the intensification of war and utilizing the al-Qaeda forces is to overthrow the Syrian regime, and the al-Qaeda forces will face the same fate it had in North Waziristan afterwards? It is merely simplifying a highly complicated issue which has no space to be treated that way if one supposes that the United States and the Europe are planning to weaken Bashar al-Assad regime to replace it with the al-Qaeda-style radical thinking.
The dominant speculation regarding this issue is that the Islamic radicals in Syria are considerable only on the stage of weakening and removing the Syrian government and afterwards there will be especial plans in which al-Qaeda has no place. In these circumstances, al-Qaeda will have space in another country so that its jihad will continue unabated and its jihadists who are regarded as terrorists will not remain idle. In such a different view on the developments in Syria, one can argue that an increase in the presence of al-Qaeda linked groups while intensifying the war in the country, will lead to the overwhelming of the both sides – al-Qaeda and the Syrian regime – at the same time and in the meantime Syria will be totally destroyed and lose its foundations in the broadest possible sense.
What makes this process unavoidable is the obstinacy and resilience of both sides of the civil war in Syria and their determination to continue the war and refusing to accept any compromise; a will which is practically prolonging the war, expanding the destruction, and preparing the grounds for foreign interferences. The alignment of regional and international powers to support one side has ensured the prolongation of the war and if an extraordinary event does not occur, the war in Syria will continue for a long while and even it should not be unlikely if it turn into a total ethnic and sectarian war and eventually the followers of a faith and ethnicity will gain total control of their geographical territory and come to the belief that living beside the others – with different religions and ethnicities – is no longer possible. The entering of al-Qaeda factor can push Syria into this more dangerous path.
However, it is not quite clear that to what extents China and Russia will support the Syrian regime. When al-Qaeda linked groups leave North Waziristan, its subsets such as Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia, Chechen Liberation Movement, and East Turkestan Islamic Movement will move to Central Asia, Chechen, and Xinjiang province in China and thus will trouble China and Russia. The plan in North Waziristan, and tribal areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan is more calculated than what it appears to be and Pakistan had no choice but to save itself and seal the big deal with the United States at the expense of others. Pakistan and Afghanistan have paid the price of Islamic radicalism and now it is time for others to pay. The price that Syria is going to pay is just the beginning of a process which has recently started. Downsizing countries is the inevitable result of the American order of Global Power. At least this is the way thinking dominant in the White House and there is no haste to put it into practice.
Key Words: Syria, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda, Syrian Oppositions, US, Mollazehi
More By Pir-Mohammad Mollazehi:
*Escalating Tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Necessity of Self-Restraint: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Escalating-Tension-between-Pakistan-and-Afghanistan-and-the-Necessity-of-Self-Restraint.htm
*Turkey and the Issue of Syrian Kurds: Possible Consequences of a Miscalculation: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Turkey-and-the-Issue-of-Syrian-Kurds-Possible-Consequences-of-a-Miscalculation.htm
*The Arab World and Power Challenge: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/The-Arab-World-and-Power-Challenge.htm