Syria's Choice: Murderous Secular Regime or Islamic Fundamentalists
As Syrian dictator Bashar Assad continues to slaughter his people, there are growing indications that the Islamists are increasing their efforts to replace his regime.
What started as a secular Facebook revolution against the Assad regime is now beginning to look more like a jihad [holy war] led by Muslim fundamentalists.
The Muslim Brotherhood is clearly seeking to hijack the anti-Assad protests, in both the political and military fields.
In the past few months, there have been many signs of a "return to Islam" in Syrian society. Large banners urging women to wear the hijab have appeared in Damascus and other main cities and many restaurants and hotels have stopped serving alcohol in keeping with Islamic law. This is in addition to the fact that many of the daily anti-Assad demonstrations are being launched from mosques, especially after Friday prayers.
The Muslim Brotherhood is by no means a "moderate" organization. Its motto leaves no room for questions about its true intentions: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad [holy war] is our way. Dying for the sake of Allah is our highest hope." Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, has come out in favor of suicide bombings, which he cslled "evidence of God's justice;" the death penalty for homosexuals; the beating of women; a genocidal a hatred of Jews: "O Allah, do not spare a single one of them….kill them down to the very last one," as he put on al-Jazeera on January 9, 2009 [www.MEMRI.org]; and, as he said on April 14, 2004, boycotts of America and Israel: "Our duty is to make them as weak as we can."
According to reports in the Arab media, Islamic fundamentalist groups have been smuggling weapons into Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Most of these weapons have fallen into the hands of Muslim fundamentalists, who are now waging a guerrilla warfare against Assad's security forces, the reports say.
Syria's fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood organization, which was banned by the Syrian dictator's father, Hafez Assad, decades ago, has come back to life thanks to the uprising that was initially launched by secular forces.
"We have a desire to coordinate the position of the opposition," declared Zuhair Salim, a spokesman for Syria's Muslim Brotherhood. "We are supporters and not creators."
As has been the case in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya, Syria's Islamists did not show their faces in public at the beginning of the anti-Assad uprising. Instead, they preferred to wait in the shadows to see where the uprising was headed.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have already found their place in the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which was formed in Istanbul last September with support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the US State Department.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood has not joined the council officially, it has many representatives there.
Out of the 19 members of the council's general secretariat, four belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and six are "independent" Islamists.
The participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian National Council is seen in the context of the Islamists' hitherto successful bid to hijack the Arab Spring.
What is disturbing is that while the US and many European governments have endorsed the Islamist-dominated opposition council, they have also turned their backs on secular groups that are opposed to the creation of a Sharia state in Damascus.
Last week Assad hinted at the possibility that his country could fall into the hands of Islamists when he warned that Syria would become "another Afghanistan" if the West intervened in favor of his enemies.
For many Syrians, the only choice today is between a murderous secular regime led by Assad and Muslim fundamentalists seeking to turn their country into an Islamic state. Assad's brutal crackdown on his opponents, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,000 Syrians, as well as his failure to implement major political reforms, is driving more people into the open arms of the Islamists.
The recent victory of the Islamists in the Tunisian elections is serving as a catalyst for the Muslim Brotherhood to double its efforts to replace the Assad regime.
Comment on this item
by Richard Kemp
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The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.