Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West’s Unholy Alliance to Wreck and Exploit
As furious fighting rages in Syria for control of Qusair, a border town of critical strategic importance, the dense and toxic fog of that country’s proxy war is spreading to Lebanon and Iraq. With Hezbollah becoming directly involved in the conflict to back Assad, the patchwork coalition of Syrian rebel groups and Jihadist foreign fighters, with al-Nusra in the lead, is loosing ground and on the defensive. Bashar al-Assad has three main objectives, which could now be obtained with the substantial and full commitment from Hezbollah. First, taking back Qusair would reopen a critical channel between Damascus and pro-Assad Alawite militias on the Mediterranean coast. Second, this would cut off the rebel-held areas between the north and south. Third, and perhaps most importantly, this would give Assad a stronger hand before the peace conference organized by Russia and the United States, to take place in June. Meanwhile, Arabs and Muslims in general are killing each other and doing the bidding of Israel and the West in what could become a full-blown regional sectarian war between Sunnis on one side, and Shiites and Alawites on the other. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West are certainly strange bedfellows, and this is reflected by the state of the Syrian opposition “coalition.”
Syrian opposition: no clear agenda or coherent leadership
A meeting of the Syrian opposition in Turkey last week was a complete fiasco. The coalition’s Western supporters, with the US, the UK and France in the lead, wanted more seats for liberals, but this attempt was blocked by a Muslim-Brotherhood influenced bloc supported by Qatar. In this regard, reflecting a change of course, the Western-backed part of the coalition was supported by the Saudis, as they became concerned about Qatar’s rising influence on Syrian opposition groups.
The sectarian war in Syria spreads to Lebanon and Iraq
Alawites are now also fighting against Sunnis in Tripoli, Lebanon. According to Qatari as well as Israeli sources, 5,000 Hezbollah troops have joined Assad’s forces in Syria, and another 5,000 have been called to be deployed in the coming days. On May 27, rockets fired by Sunnis targeted and hit Hezbollah-held areas of Beirut. Meanwhile, in a speech on May 26, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah said that his organization will stand firmly with Assad. “We will continue to the end of the road. We accept this responsibility and will accept all sacrifices and expected consequences for this position,” said Nasrallah.
In Iraq, sectarian violence has become a daily event. According to the United Nations, more than 700 people were killed in April, and already 350 in May in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. Sunni Iraqi Jihadists are reported to be fighting against Assad in Syria. The expansion of the fight to Lebanon and Iraq demonstrates, once again, that inflaming sectarian conflicts in the Arab world is a deadly strategy concocted by the West and Israel to divide and rule the Middle East. These geopolitics of chaos have wrecked Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. The West and Israel would like an encore in Syria by toppling Assad.
Will today’s allies against Syria, Hezbollah and Iran become foes tomorrow?
When one considers this strange Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Israel alliance built on the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” it is hard not to recall the pact of non-aggression signed in 1939 between Hitler and Stalin. On one hand, not having a front with the Soviet Union made wrecking Poland, Belgium and France easier for Nazi Germany. On the other hand, this gave Stalin the time he needed to build up the Red Army, knowing perfectly well that the pact with the Nazis would be extremely temporary. Providing that Assad is toppled and that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West “take care” of Hezbollah and Iran, the aftermath in the region and beyond would be extremely messy.
Qatar and, to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia are working to establish an Islamist state in Syria. Using their money, they are exploiting the Syrian opposition against Assad as well as recruiting and arming some 50,000 Jihadist foreign fighters. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have done this before. Qatar was among the few Arab states that offered active military assistance to NATO during the toppling of Gaddafi in Libya, and Qataris were key suppliers of money and weapons to Libyan rebels. Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s vision is that of a Middle East that becomes Sunni dominated, under their influence, using the Muslim Brotherhood as a political instrument. Qatar wants a Muslim-Brotherhood controlled Syria, just like Egypt. But what will Israel do if it becomes surrounded by Muslim-Brotherhood controlled states sponsored by Qatar and Saudi Arabia? And what will happen to Israel’s vision of territorial expansion to a Greater Israel?
Can Russia and China impose a political solution for the Syrian crisis?
The only hope for avoiding an escalation that would put us on course to World War III is for Russia and China to make a stand on Syria, as opposed to their inaction on both Iraq and Libya. Syria should be defined as a red line not to be crossed by the West, Israel, and their temporary allies from the Gulf. If Russia dumps Syria, Hezbollah and, down the line, Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin would lose all geopolitical credibility.
Nobel-peace-prize laureate Mairead Maguire, who just headed a peace delegation to Syria and Lebanon that pushed for a Syrian National Reconciliation, wrote in a report: “The Syrian state and its population are under a proxy war led by foreign countries and directly financed and backed by Qatar.” According to Maguire, 50,000 foreign Jihadist fighters have come to Syria through Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The Jihadists originate from many different countries: there are Libyans, Saudis, Tunisians, Chechens, Afghans, Pakistanis, Emiratis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Europeans, and even Australians.
Maguire urged the international community to “support a process of dialogue and reconciliation in Syria between its people and the Syrian government and reject outside intervention and war.” While Russia’s aim is merely to push for a ceasefire, Maguire’s ultimate goal is peace in Syria, although, with so much animosity between Sunnis and Alawites, a partition of Syria along sectarian lines (see map) might be a more realistic solution to avoid further bloodshed in a conflict that has already killed more than 80,000 and displaced 3.5 million people.
Editor’s Note: Photographs one, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten by Freedom House.