Posted by Joshua on Friday, December 8th, 2006
Farid Ghadry of the Reform Party of Syria has responded to Sharaa's speech in his most recent circular. His advice is to drive the conflict between Syria and Washington forward on the presumption that Syria has reached the breaking point and that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is preparing to turn against Syria. Ghadry stipulates that by opening up a sectarian war inside Syria, the regime will fall. He encourages Washington to facilitate this and to — "stir trouble amongst the Sunnis of Syria" — with the goal of causing the collapse of the Asad regime, preferably by a coup.
His reading of Syrian politics is that the Assad regime is on the run in Iraq and has overplayed its hand. He writes: "Assad fears that his policy against Iraq may be backfiring and he needs to complete a deal with the United States pronto so he can start dismantling all of the terrorist organizations he helped erect." But no deal should be offered in order to encourage the Sunnis of Iraq to launch their attacks which will threaten Syria with civil war. The second prong to the US attack should be the aggressive pursuit of the Hariri trial, which Ghadry believes will indict and convict no less a figure than Bashar al-Asad. He writes:
It is quite evident that the best interests of the United States are not served by opening a dialogue with Syria. Just the contrary, it behooves this administration to call Assad's bluff in light of the Iraqi Sunnis new posture and the pressure of the international tribunal hovering, as a sword, over Assad's neck. As David Schenker expressed on Kalam Al-Nass, a Lebanese popular TV show with Marcel Ghanem, the following idea: If the tribunal finds Assad guilty, the Europeans will have no choice but to stop any economic dealings with Syria. Assad has taken flight recently from the US Dollar to the Euro. And if Schenker is right, Assad will have no choice but to switch again.. this time to the Ruble maybe. That will mean the end of the Assad era.
The policy that suits the Syrian dissident community is continued pressure on the regime until internal security and army personnel decide it is time to save Syria from disaster and take matters in their own hands.
Ghadry believes the Saudis are supporting and funding this game plan by supporting the National Salvation Front or Khaddam – Muslim Brotherhood alliance. He writes:
The Saudis are hedging their bets just in case Iran becomes uncontainable by supporting Sunni puritanism as an alternative to Baschar al-Assad. It behooves the Saudis to play the proxy game by helping Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq fend off Iran, just in case, by creating a Sunni wall that extends from Lebanon (with the Hariris), to Syria (still testing the Khaddam and the Muslim Brotherhood combination), to Iraq.
Read the whole Ghadry article, here.
Ghadry is wrong that Iraqi Sunnis are strong enough to bring down the Asad regime or that they are inclined to attack Syria. We have no indication of that. On the contrary, the US constantly accuses Syria and the Iraqi insurgents of being in bed with each other.
The interesting aspect of Ghadry's policy recommendation is that he takes the neocon policy of "creative chaos" to its logical conclusion, which is to fan the flames of the sectarian war being waged in Iraq to bring down the neighboring regimes and break the Middle East wide open. He presumes that Washington will end up siding with the Sunnis in Iraq against the Shiites and harness Saudi Arabia to this task. This is a policy option still open to the US and being debated in Washington. It may also become a defacto policy if Washington "refuses" to change course and the sectarian militias end up dominating politics in Iraq or even bringing down the Maliki government.
The Baker-Hamilton proposal is crucial in this context, because it offers Washington a way to step back from escalation and to find a modus vivendi with Iraq's neighbors, if one is possible, that will avoid total sectarian war.
Whether the International Court will be an effective instrument to break Syria is also in doubt. A spat has broken out between Mehlis and Brammertz, the two lead investigators. Here is what T_Desco writes in the last comment section.
This is rich: Detlev Mehlis (who did great damage to the UN investigation by relying on dubious witnesses like Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq) has the nerve to attack Serge Brammertz !
Magazine report (i.e. Mehlis; t_d) accuses UN’s Hariri probe of foot-dragging
Berlin- A German news magazine report to be published Thursday accuses the Belgian United Nations special investigator into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of slowing down the probe. The weekly Stern magazine also alleges that the former UN investigator into Hariri’s killing, Berlin state prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, is convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad was involved in the killing.
Mehlis gave his Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz, confidential witness testimony and other evidence on Assad’s role when he stood down in January 2006, said Stern, citing a secret UN document is says it obtained.
Stern says Mehlis urged Brammertz to summon Assad for questioning as a potential perpetrator, said the magazine in its report, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday, a day ahead of publication.
The Russians have also prepared the ground for a potential attack on the legality of the international Court that will preside over the trial. They have insisted that they will work with the court only if it is established completely constitutionally. Its constitutionality is still in doubt. The following appeared in the Herald Tribune.
Russia's deputy foreign minister said Sunday, the U.N.-created international tribunal to prosecute the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri must be legal and constitutional.
"Moscow's stand is obvious on the necessity of this court to be clean, legally and constitutionally," Alexander Sultanov told reporters in Damascus, following meetings he held with President Bashar Assad.
Sultanov, whose country is an ally of Syria, did not elaborate. His comments, however, came a day after Lebanon's U.S.-backed government voted to approve the tribunal, overriding the objections of the pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud and the Syria-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group.
Lahoud and Hezbollah consider the vote to be illegitimate because it was held in the absence of six pro-Hezbollah ministers — five Shiite Muslim and one Christian — which they consider to be a breach of the constitution.
Russia had raised questions about the constitutionality of the agreement to establish the tribunal because of the differences between the Lebanese prime minister and president. But the U.N. Security Council agreed Monday that any constitutional issues should be decided by the Lebanese government — not the United Nations.