American policy shift spells danger in the Middle East

Syria’s Assad…’would not hesitate’ to use chemical weapons

From the start of the anti-Assad uprising in Syria, the geopolitical ramifications have made the conflict a nightmare for the Major Powers. Assad is a ruthless and bloody dictator, but the Opposition is increasingly dominated by radical Islamists. But now from both Syria and the US comes news that will startle many….and who knows, perhaps at long last get the Western publics to grasp why that country is really 2012’s Spanish Civil War.

American sources have been suggesting strongly over the last month that there has been a major policy shaft at the State Department – in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood. While anti-Obama conspiracists will have a field day with this, the reality is infinitely more complex than any idea of a closet Islamist President slightly off his rocker.

“Let’s just say State has grown up quite a bit since the Arab Spring,” says a trusted Washington source. “There was always the fear that Islamic radicals would benefit from the instability, but there’s a realism that says we must engage with them.”

The majority line at State today is, astonishingly, that the Muslim Brotherhood is going to be the dominant force in Middle Eastern politics for some time to come, and America wants to be on the winning side – not left out in the cold as, yet again, the Great Satan.

Evidence of this appeared yesterday when the pro-Christian Twitter site Persecution.org was retweeted by Daily Telegraph et all blogger Ed West as saying, “Senator Jim Webb to Single-Handedly Kill Legislation Protecting Christians in the Middle East”. Bipartisan Congressional legislation to send protection envoys to the Middle East passed the House of Reps by a huge 402-20 majority, but was rigorously opposed by the State Department. State recently issued a paper somewhat blandly suggesting that the ‘protection envoy’ role would be ‘unnecessary, duplicative and likely counter-productive’.

This is not very well coded Statespeak for “we’re changing sides, now butt out”. In a nutshell, the US is cuddling up to the MusBros…..and having active US pro-Christian bodies impinging on that process would be ‘counter-productive’.

This is, from my viewpoint, a pretty shameful step; it is also just another form of American naivety every bit as bad as the 1930s appeasement of Nazism. But this is oil stuff, and when Texas Tea comes into the mix, all other considerations are vapourised. Further, from inside Syria itself comes feedback about twin fears among the more secular opposition to President Assad.

“We are being targeted for assassination by the Brotherhood,” writes a press contact for one of the most prominent anti-Assad groups beyond the Muslim religious fanatics, “They are already preparing to eliminate and imprison all non-Islamist revolutionaries once Assad is gone. A civil war after Assad’s removal would be even more bloody than what we have now.”

An Arabist observer-cum-Slogger writes:

‘Assad is an Alawite, the much despised and much persecuted minority who are regarded as unbelievers. They were the lowest of low  –  almost as low as Syrian Christians – until they gained power courtesy of the French.   If Assad gives up power, then all 4 million Alawaites and all 4 million Christians will be murdered.   So Assad cannot give up power….the Syrian Alawi are beleaguered, but have a great deal of power and weapons. Whatever the UN or the US says, Assad will never step down.  If it came to a real show-down, Assad would release all his chemical weapons without blinking an eye. He would not hesitate in flinging all his military cards up in the sky, and then just hoping that some of them fell in his favour.  Better that, than being erased from the face of the Earth by militant Muslims.’

Over the last 48 hours, the Western media have all but decided that Assad’s days are few. They may well be right, but few have a realistic steer on just how big a bang he might go out with. An exception is the morning’s Guardian, which writes:

‘Mass defections of soldiers and a rampage by pro-regime militiamen were reported in the capital amid a swirl of rumours, including one that Assad’s wife, Asma, had fled to Russia and another that troops were being issued with gas masks, raising fears of the use of chemical weapons.’

But a calm – some would say smug – White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said “it’s clear that Assad is losing control”. And of course David ‘braindead Foreign office Man’ Cameron David Cameron, meeting British troops in Afghanistan, said it was “time for Assad to go”. He really doesn’t know anything at all about the Middle East, but at least he is powerless. The same cannot be said of the US State Department.”

“America and Europe are so dumb, that they know less than a fox,” says one source,  “Even a fox knows that it is very unwise to corner Mother Goose with her chicks, because Mother Goose will fight to the death to protect them. Assad will do the same.”

What the Israelis think (I’d imagine) is not that hard to divine; but ‘isolated’ probably nails it quite well.

We must wait and see. But stay tuned: in the next few days, this could turn geopolitically (and militarily) very nasty indeed.