Monday, April 2, 2012

Does the West Have to be so Weak on Syria...and Everywhere Else?

By Barry Rubin

They’ve been saying it in Arabic in public for most of President Barack Obama’s term in office.  The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said it  in August 2010, giving that weakness as a reason for launching a revolution. But the American mass media has ignored it all.

Well, now we have leaked Syrian regime  internal documents that make the same point. In talking points for President Bashar al-Assad prepared by his staff, and given him on December 31, 2011, he is told to warn pro-Arab Western countries:

“America has started to leave our region and there will be no ally left to you but your Syrian neighbor.”

And Iran, of course, but Assad didn’t want to mention his non-Arab ally.

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This is the line from Iran and Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas) and Hizballah. Saudis say it in public now; Israeli leaders say it in private. Opposition activists say it in Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey; opposition fighters say it in Syria.

The Egyptian regime knows that it can indict 16 Americans, including the son of a U.S. cabinet member, on espionage charges and Obama will still provide its aid and, in reaching a deal to let them leave the country, $4 million in American ransom will be paid.
The message is:

You can’t depend on America to be a firm ally and you can depend on America not to be a tough enemy. The U.S. position in the region is eroding away.

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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