Who Should Rule Syria? Nobody

Aug. 19 2016

Thanks to Russian and Iranian intervention, the chances of the Assad regime’s defeat seem very slim; yet it is equally unlikely that Assad will regain complete control of the country. Furthermore, there no longer exist democratic forces opposed simultaneously to al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS), and Assad. Jonathan Spyer puts forward a plan for the U.S. and its Western allies that takes these dire circumstances into account:

It ought to be fairly obvious why a victory for the Assad regime would be a disaster for the West. Assad, an enthusiastic user of chemical weapons against his own people, is aligned with the most powerful anti-Western coalition in the Middle East, . . . dominated by the Islamic Republic of Iran. It includes Hizballah in Lebanon, the Shiite militias of Iraq, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. If Assad were to win, the Iranian alliance would consolidate its domination of the entire land area between the Iraq-Iran border and the Mediterranean Sea—a major step toward regional hegemony for Iran. . . .

With no particular joy but a good deal of confidence, I can report that the Syrian rebellion today is dominated in its entirety by Sunni Islamist forces. And the most powerful of these are the most radical. . . . So if there is no British or Western interest in a victory for either the regime or the rebels, what should be done with regard to Syria?

First of all, it is important to understand that Syria as a unitary state no longer exists. . . . [T]he country has fragmented into enclaves, and is not going to be reunited in the near future, if at all. . . .

The West, [however], has established a successful and effective patron-client relationship with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Dominated by the Kurdish YPG, but including also Arab tribal forces such as the Sanadid militia, this is the force that is reducing the dominions of the Islamic State in eastern Syria, in partnership with Western air power and special forces. . . .

The destruction of the Islamic State by a strengthened SDF would lead to control of Syria east of the Euphrates by a Western client of proven anti-terrorist credentials. Further west, the truncated enclaves of Assad and of the Sunni Arab rebels would remain. It is possible that, over time, the fragmentation of Syria would be formalized. But it’s equally likely that the various component parts would remain in de-facto existence for the foreseeable future.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Bashar al-Assad, ISIS, Kurds, Nusra Front, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority