Posted by Joshua on Thursday, November 1st, 2007
Two American planes took part in the bombing raid over Syria on Sept. 6 claims al-jazeera.net. (Ar.) It refers to unnamed sources: one Israeli and one Arab.
Arab paper: 'Extremism,' 'violence' to follow Iraq pullout
Iraq 'Would be taken over by Iran and Syria, which are seeking to dominate' region
Posted: November 1, 2007
The editor of a premier pan-Arab daily newspaper is warning with the eventual departure of American forces from Iraq, the vacuum will be filled by Syria and Iran, and "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"
The commentary comes from Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the Arabic-language newspaper that is printed in 12 cities on four continents and also features an English-language website.
The editorial was highlighted by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors media reports throughout the Middle East.
"In an editorial titled '[The] American Withdrawal and the Second Stage,' … Alhomayed warned of what might happen after the U.S. withdraws its forces from Iraq," MEMRI said. "He argued that Iraq would be taken over by Iran and Syria, which are seeking to dominate the Middle East, and that the result would be the spread of extremism and violence throughout the region."
Both Iran and Syria are "getting ready" for the American departure, he said.
"Iran has, in fact, been present in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. As for Syria, it has been one of the disrupters of the Iraqi project however from afar," he said. "Nevertheless, what is new today is Damascus's endeavor to reorganize the Baathist rather than the Sunni elements as is commonly believed, in order to ensure Syrian influence in Iraq."
He said while Syrian President Bashar Assad, "stated that his country has influence over Lebanon; an influence that he described as positive … we all know that this is not true."
The commentary noted Syria wants the Golan Heights without war and wants to win America over "without having to adopt a moderate approach or refrain from interfering in Lebanon or Iraq."
"Damascus, like Iran, is playing the Hamas card, a movement that is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood…" he continued. "Iran, by imposing fait accompli or reaching an agreement with the United States, wants to dominate the Arab world and to resume exporting the Islamic revolution."
"This is the main problem. America will leave the region and we will find ourselves opening a new chapter that is no better than where we are today. After the devouring of Iraq and Lebanon at the hands of Iran and Syria, the Gulf region will be under the siege of the Islamic revolution and under pressure from Syrian meddling," he said.
"We do not know where this will all end. Therefore, in light of the American exit and the lack of Arab activity, the region will witness its second stage of downfall; however, this time, it will be in the hands of Tehran and Damascus," he said.
In its own editorial, the International Herald Tribune said U.S. voters are becoming increasingly convinced it is time for a troop withdrawal, forcing them then to focus their attention on the "likely consequences" in the region.
"Washington's presence in Iraq will gradually diminish over the next five years, leaving in place a weak, decentralized system of warlords with some foreign supporter," the IHT said. "The central government appears certain to weaken over time, but the proposal of a new al-Qaida haven arising in the Sunni triangle is not the most significant threat that would emerge from a post-U.S. Iraq. Rather, it is the galvanizing effect that a U.S. troop pullout would have on Islamist radicals in the Maghreb, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and beyond."