Two Cheers for Amerikan Jihadis!


Amal Saad Ghorayeb

Amerikan jihad unveiled. US policy analyst, Gary Gambill, argues in this Foreign Policy piece here ,entitled “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamism”, that Jihadism in Syria is good for US interests. He contends that Jihadis are most effective in eliminating the resistance axis and are useful to the US insofar as they will not accept a political settlement that would end the civil war. He even makes the case that al-Qaeda is a lesser evil than Iran.

Some excerpts from this very disturbing commentary:

“Fortunately, while the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people, it has two important silver linings for U.S. interests.

For starters, the Assad regime would not be in the trouble it’s in today were it not for the Islamists.

Islamists — many of them hardened by years of fighting U.S. forces in Iraq — are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts. Assad has had extraordinary difficulty countering tactics perfected by his former jihadist allies, particularly suicide bombings and roadside bombs.

The Sunni Islamist surge may also be essential to inflicting a full-blown strategic defeat on Iran.

For all of their faults, Sunni Islamists hell-bent (or heaven-bent) on purging the country of Iranian influence can be counted on to reject a “no victor, no vanquished” settlement like the 1989 Taif Accord, which brought Lebanon’s civil war to a halt but institutionalized its political fragmentation and loss of sovereignty.

While there is sure to be regional spillover, it will cut mainly against Tehran. There will be tough times ahead for Lebanon, but ultimately the Assad regime’s death throes can only work against the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

Of course, Syrian Islamists are no friends of the United States — merely the enemies of one of its enemies. Indeed, their long-term aspirations are arguably more reprehensible than those of the mullahs in Tehran — Shiites, after all, aren’t obsessed with converting others their faith. Syrians have also been prominent in the leadership of al Qaeda, easily recognizable by the surname al-Suri in their noms de guerre.

For the foreseeable future, however, Iran constitutes a far greater and more immediate threat to U.S. national interests. Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won’t have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington.

So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies, we should quietly root for them.”


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