Friday, October 28, 2011

Senator John McCain (Ignorantly) Backs Islamist-Dominated Syrian Opposition Leaders

By Barry Rubin

I've warned that the Obama Administration, through  the Islamist Turkish government, has produced a majority Islamist leadership for the Syrian oppostion. Let me emphasize this point: the Syrian people didn't chose this exile leadership, the American president and his colleagues did. 

It is vital to understand that Syria is different from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. A revolutionary Islamist regime is not inevitable. There are plenty of moderates and those non-Muslims or non-Arabs loyal first and foremost to their own community (Druze, Christians, Kurds, tribes, and even potentially Alawites) who don't want Islamism. That's why this disaster is avoidable and all the more strategic sin on the Obama Administration for making an unnecessary catastrophe more likely. 

In historical terms, it would be as if the Western powers helped create and back a Communist-dominated opposition council in pre-revolutionary Russia even though the Bolsheviks weren't in the majority.

Sure enough, along comes Senator John McCain, straight from his foolishly blind unnuanced endorsement and whitewashing of the new Libyan regime, and what does he do? At a World Economic Forum meeting in Amman, October 23, the senator suggest that now that the Libyan crisis is solved (!):

“There will be renewed focus on what practical military operations might be considered to protect civilian lives in Syria.” This would be in response to Syria’s opposition is reaching out “for some foreign military intervention.” And who is guiding McCain's thinking? “We are listening to and engaging with the National Opposition Council.”

In other words, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is advocating that U.S. policy follow the advice of an Islamist-dominated group in order to have the U.S. military install what would amount to an Islamist-dominated leadership in Syria.

Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Turkey Lebanon? Perhaps they're going for a matched set! The fact that our last remaining moderate hope in terms of regimes is Saudi Arabia--and I'm not joking--tells you something about the current situation.

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