Sunday, April 27, 2014

Al-Qaeda versus Hizballah !

''The world's most fearsome terrorist groups are facing off in Syria. That's bad news for everyone.''  Robin Wright, Journalist for Time Magazine

The battle for the soul of Syria has taken an even deadlier turn over the past 3 months. The strategic center of the Middle East is also now a battle ground between Hizballah [photo](who support President Bashar Assad) and al-Qaeda (the ratbags that want to make Syria the centre of a new Caliphate), the region's toughest extremist movements. The groups, both with roots outside Syria, represent rival versions of jihadism. Both use the same repugnantly violent  tactics and advocate rigid Islamic rule; they're just from different sects: Shiítes and Sunnis..

This war within the war carries new dangers for the Middle East, for Islam an the outside (civilised) world. The regionalization of of the conflict was reflected when Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah announced his Lebanese militia would ''bear the responsibilities and the sacrifices. This battle is ours, and I promise you victory!'' Within weeks Hizballah fighters helped the Syrian army recapture the city of al-Qusayr, a rebel hub for the past year. The victory was a huge military and psychological break for President Assad -- and particular forceful way for Hizballah to assert its presence.

Hizballah and al-Qaeda are also now redefining the Syrian conflict in sectarian terms, pitting Shiítes against Sunnis and inflaming passions that date back to Islam's greatest split 1,400 years ago, when two factions of the Prophet Muhammad's followers quarrelled over who was his rightful heir. As a result, the conflict is no longer just about man-made ideology or temporal politics or an autocratic dynasty. It's also about interpreting God's will. This stupidity manifests itself in each groups recent targets. The al-Qaeda side claimed last year to have dug up the remains of 7th century Shiíte martyr Hojr Ibn Oday after allegedly destroying his shrine outside Damascus. In turn, Sunni mosques have come under increasing attack.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi
The sectarian furies spilling across Syria's borders have implications for countries from Morocco to Iran. Attacks have already erupted inside Lebanon with tit-for-tat car bombings. Sunni clerics -- most notably popular Egypt-born, Al Jazeera televangelist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi -- have responded to Hizballah's intervention by exhorting followers to mobilize against the Syrian regime. ''I call on Muslims everywhere to help their brothers to be victorious. Everyone who has the ability and has the training to required to go.''   His fiery rhetoric may fan the flames of hatred and mistrust even after the war ends. As history repeatedly shows, sectarian wars are often harder to resolve than political conflicts.

The role of both groups' followers in Syria increases the danger that Hizballah or al-Qaeda could gain a long term political or physical foothold  in one of the most important countries in the Middle East. That sort of influence would represent the exact opposite of the democratic dream envisioned by many in Syria when the initial protests erupted in March 2011, triggered by the arrest of teenagers who had spray painted antigovernment graffiti on the walls in the Syrian town of Dara'a.

The Way I See It.....the presence of Hizballah and al-Qaeda in Syria will almost certainly complicate diplomatic efforts to find any form of political compromise as U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry has found out. Neither group has ever shown much interest in negotiating. Even Obama's generous funding and arms to the rebels, without any oversight where and who this largesse going to, doesn't broker any positive influence on compromise.

The biggest losers from the emergence of this new fault line are the uprising's early heroes -- the peaceful dissidents and defectors who later took up arms to protect themselves against Assad's military. Their brave struggle seems increasingly marginal as Syria becomes a battle ground for the region's extremist filth.

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