Posted: 27 Mar 2011 07:37 PM PDT
By Barry Rubin
It’s official. The Obama Administration won’t do anything at all to help the Syrian people against the Bashar al-Asad dictatorship. Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi is a bad dictator, but Bashar al-Asad is a good dictator?
The great Martin Kramer puts it perfectly:
“Earlier I noted that the Arab League gave Asad a license to kill because Syria is “occupied.” Now Clinton and Kerry have given him one because he’s a “reformer.” Asad hasn’t carried out any reforms, still supports terror, has stockpiles of WMD, and even tried to build a secret nuke facility. But unlike Qaddafi, he cleans up nicely and his wife is chic. Asad gets a pass; Asads always do.”
Ask yourself these simple questions: Which regime is more dangerous to U.S. interests? Which regime is sponsoring more terrorism at present? Which regime is killing Americans in Iraq? Which regime is allied with Iran and actively trying to destroy U.S. interests in the Middle East? Who is the worse dictator–more repressive; incompetent; and bad for regional stability, the United States, and the West–Egypt’s Husni Mubarak or Syria’s Bashar al-Asad?
Nobody is asking the U.S. government to bomb Syria or to send troops. It’s just a matter of supporting those seeking democracy when it also serves U.S. interests. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates seems to feel this way.
I have no idea whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports the White House’s pro-Syrian policy or not but her attempt to defend it is the most pitiful performance of her 26 months in the job. Was this because her heart isn’t in it or just that the contradictions are too obvious to paper over?
Does anyone still believe that the United States is going to woo Syria away from Iran, especially now that it’s handing one victory after another to Tehran? Does anyone still believe that Syria is going to make peace with Israel? I mean someone who is a rational being who has some comprehension of international affairs, in other words not Senator John Kerry.
Posted: 27 Mar 2011 07:03 PM PDT
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By Barry Rubin
In his New York Times op-ed back in February, Muslim Brotherhood agent–disguised as sophisticated academic–Tariq Ramadan wrote:
“By deciding to line up behind Mohamed ElBaradei, who has emerged as the chief figure among the anti-Mubarak protesters, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership has signaled that now is not the time to expose itself by making political demands that might frighten the West, not to mention the Egyptian people. Caution is the watchword. “
But wait! Now it is the month of March and the Brotherhood has broken with ElBaradei. In fact, Brotherhood supporters by the hundred threw stones at ElBaradei and prevented him from voting on the constitutional amendments during the recent referendum. So much for democracy.
So to take Ramadan at his word, now that the Brotherhood has turned against ElBaradei and physically attacked him, does that mean–to paraphrase Ramadan–that:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership has signaled that now is the time to expose itself by making political demands that might frighten the West and the Egyptian people. Confidence and aggression is the watchword.
In other words, the Brotherhood can toss away one of the main “proofs” of its moderation and lack of aggressiveness and the Western elite–including those in whose newspaper these words appeared–don’t even notice!
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.