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March 20, 2013

Good News! Islamists Are Taking Control Of Rebel Held Areas In Syria

This is the place Lindsey Graham, John McCain and the rest want us to invade?

No thanks.

The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

...

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Not everyone in Syria is happy about this but I'm not sure how much sway they have. The jihadis have the guns and are more than willing to use them on anyone. That's pretty effective, at least in the short run.

Among those who have fallen afoul of the authority is Othman al-Haj Othman, a respected activist and physician renowned for his role in treating those injured in the shelling and airstrikes that persist on a daily basis. He was detained last week by armed men dispatched by the Hayaa after he removed a poster from the wall of his hospital inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith and was held overnight in a cell at the former Eye Hospital.

...

But Othman didn’t seem mollified. “They think the same way as Bashar. There is no difference,” he said, in reference to the Syrian president, as he stepped out of the hospital gates to be greeted by supporters, who had staged a small demonstration to demand his release.

“Those people don’t represent the revolution. They don’t understand the revolution,” he said. “They have power, they have guns, but they don’t have support. When there are free elections, you will see.

Maybe we will see and maybe we won't. If there are ever going to be free elections (and those don't always go well, see Egypt) it's going to be up to the Syrians to make happen, not us.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Syria says there's no evidence chemical weapons have been used by either side.

And the top NATO commander says that we (the US and NATO) can be effective in helping to remove Assad. That's obvious but it leads to the real question, then what?

Unless we have a desire to get in the middle of another civil war/insurgency in the Mideast or have developed much better stabilization plans, is anyone really interested in signing up for a replay of Iraq?

Personally, I'm happy to let them fight it out amongst themselves for a good long time. Hell, let's arm both sides.


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posted by DrewM. at 03:20 PM

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