Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On the Astonishing Slicing Up of Syria: Analysis

US Backing Muslim Brotherhood

Syria has replaced Lebanon the "go-to place" for internal, Arab world struggles. Damascus is at the forefront of a regional contest for power, Pinhas Inbari explains in another must-read analysis. A key excerpt:

The United States, Turkey and Qatar wish that the Muslim Brotherhood control post-Assad Syria. That is the reason why the body meant to lead the opposition – the Syrian National Council (SNC) – operates out of Turkey and is completely under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. France, on the other hand, is not enthusiastic about the prospect of the Brotherhood and prefers to promote the secular Syrian leadership that has long since found refuge in Paris. The former head of the SNC, Sorbonne Professor Burhan Galioun, a left-leaning Arab nationalist, recently lost his patron, President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Turkey and the United States have since had an easier time isolating him and nominating a Kurdish exile, Abd al-Baset Seedah, in his stead. 
Saudi Arabia, who, like France, dislikes the Muslim Brotherhood, would rather promote the Salafists, who are close to al-Qaeda. While the rush to promote the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria is coming out of Turkey, the Saudis have been pushing the Salafists onto Syria from Lebanon. France has also tried to bolster its position in the region by giving shelter to Manaf Tlass, so far the most meaningful defector from Assad’s ranks. 
Astonishingly, none of the powers vying for regime change in Syria actually envisage a dramatic improvement over the government of Bashar al-Assad. Muslim Brotherhood rule in Syria will most likely result in the creation of a state akin to Sudan, or, at best, Tunisia. A Salafist takeover would produce the horrifying prospects of a new Afghanistan in the heart of the Levant.

Click here to read the entire essay. Inbari is a first-rate analyst.

Related: US-Russia Relationship Overshadows Talks on Syria