Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Obama Administration's Pro-Islamist Syrian Opposition "Leadership" is Collapsing

By Barry Rubin

Five months ago, I wrote here and here detailing how the U.S. government collaborated in creating an anti-American, Islamist-dominated leadership for the Syrian revolution. This leadership group, assembled by the Islamist Turkish regime as the Obama government’s subcontractor, failed immediately. Now it is collapsing openly.

Of the nineteen announced members of the top leadership, I explained, ten of them were Islamists, either Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist. A reliable Syrian opposition source tells me that two more members are secretly Islamist tools. This was far in excess of the proportion of those forces in the revolution. In short, the U.S. government was helping to turn Syria’s revolution over to the Islamists. If this group had succeeded, the West would be facing still another radical Islamist regime that hated the West, wanted to go to war with Israel, and would be imposing a new dictatorship on its country.
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But the Syrian National Council (SNC) has failed. The Islamist angle and the Obama Administration's responsibility for this fiasco is being far underplayed.

Several SNC members, including Kamal al-Labwani and Haitham Maleh, have announced their resignations. They are both elderly veteran dissidents who are not Islamists. The reason being given most often for this crack-up is that the group’s leadership is “autocratic," excluding most of the membership from any role in decision-making. Leaving aside the element of personal ambition, however, why is it autocratic? Because it is imposing the Muslim Brotherhood line rather than responding to the preferences of the activists within Syria, that’s why.

As the New York Times admits, al-Labwani, “accused Muslim Brotherhood members within the exile opposition of `monopolizing funding and military support.’” Yet there is not a word about how the Obama Administration pushed this Brotherhood-dominated leadership onto the Syrian opposition.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center  and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

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