Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Saudi Arabia & qatar: 'For the Love of Syria & the Syrians!'

"... What’s happening here, in part, is that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are conducting a decades-old battle for influence, using their contacts in the Syrian opposition as proxies. The two wealthy Gulf nations use their media outlets — al-Arabiya for Saudi Arabia and al-Jazeera for Qatar — to promote their different agendas. It’s a ruinous rivalry, reminiscent of the way Arab regimes once sponsored feuding warlords in Lebanon.
The biggest surprise is how little the U.S. has been willing or able to influence the Syrian political maneuvers in recent months. U.S. frustration with the old Islamist-dominated opposition led to the creation last fall of a new umbrella organization, headed by Khatib. But it’s mostly been downhill since then........ Critics of President Obama’s low-key approach to Syria would argue that the opposition wrangling illustrates what happens when the U.S. leaves policy to headstrong allies, such as Turkey and Qatar. The White House could counter that opposition fracas shows what a mess Syria is—and why the U.S. is wise to keep its distance.
The dangerous aspect of the ascendency of Qatar and Turkey is that they are driving the Arab revolutions further toward Islamist governance. “Do you want to hand post-Bashar Syria to the Muslim Brotherhood?” asks one prominent Arab diplomat. Like many in the Arab world, he fears that the Brotherhood is now inexorably on the march toward regional hegemony."

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