Monday, 15 July 2013

Syria: Proxy War and Battleground in a Global Jihad

On whether the US, UK and France will directly arm the Free Syria Army, not only is the more 'extreme' wing fragmenting and going over to militant jihadist splinter groups but the foreign fighters, seeing Syria as a national battleground in a global jihad, are in fierce combat with the FSA.
'Months of uneasy calm between jihadists and the mainstream Syrian opposition spilled into fierce fighting in Aleppo on Saturday, days after a senior Free Syria army commander was assassinated by a jihadi group...The fighting was in Bustan al-Qasr in the south-east of the divided city.
The battle underscored the fast-splintering nature of the Syrian opposition, which made sweeping military gains across much of northern Syria last year, but has been unable to advance from its key strongholds in Aleppo and elsewhere since January.'
The danger is that the US, UK and France will try to use any advance in Al Qaida inspired jihadists as even more of a pretext to arm the 'right' rebels in order to prevent 'another Afghanistan' on the borders of Turkey. Arming the insurgents would, however, be more likely to create just that.

The plan to arm Sunni Islamists, whether 'moderate or 'extreme', is worse than useless and the only way forward is to bring Iran into diplomatic negotiations instead of asserting as a precondition the demand that Assad must step down.It simply is not realistic and can only only prolong the bloodshed.

The West needs to drop the neo-Cold War style poses against Iran merely to please Saudi Arabia and Israel. The chaos in Syria could spread into Lebanon and Iraq and ultimately even blowback into Jordan and Saudi Arabia itself. Then the strategic interests it wants to uphold at any cost will be destroyed anyway.

It is also ominous that Al Qaida in Syria is acting as a recruiting base for UK born jihadists.
'Al-Qaida elements fighting with rebels in Syria constitute the most serious terrorist threat to Britain, and if they were to get their hands on Syria's chemical weapons the consequences could be catastrophic, according to British spymasters.'
The latest annual report of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) claims that "Al Qaida linked elements" are trying to gain chemical weapons. If so, that would surely mean that the safest course of action is not to arm the Sunni insurgents but to engage in diplomacy with assad.
"There is a risk of extremist elements in Syria taking advantage of the permissive environment to develop external attack plans, including against western targets. Large numbers of radicalised individuals have been attracted to the country, including significant numbers from the UK and Europe."
The question is why the government has seemingly allowed that to happen and is not using their surveillance apparatus to arrest these people. If it does not know who these jihadists are and cannot arrest them then the British government needs to drop its insane plans to arm Sunni insurgents.

The risk of blowback will affect all those in the region from Turkey and Saudi Arabia who backed Sunni fundamentalists in accordance with shoddy realpolitik calculations and fear of Iran. That includes he US and UK and it now must promote peace negotiations that include Iran and do not insist 'Assad must go'.

This is yet another example of how Britain's strategic 'lethal embrace' of Saudi Arabia and overdependence upon oil is mortally endangering the securiry of Britain and its population. Greater terrorism is the price to be paid for a high octane lifestyle and we need to grasp that fact urgently..

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