Sherkoh Abbas believes that the U.S., “working with Salafi groups, and the Turkish government, would create an opposition in Syria that is strictly Islamist, and thus serve Turkish economic interests in Syria, and keep the Kurdish issue as dormant in Turkey as well as in Syria.” He continued:
By placing the U.S. behind such political parties as the Muslim Brotherhood, the U.S. will lose touch with the real opposition on the ground, which seeks democracy, peace with its neighbors, economic stability, guided by a pro-Western outlook.
Abbas asserted that only a fraction of the Syrian people belong to political parties and that the MB, aided by the Islamist Turkish government, seeks to hijack the Syrian revolution.
“The Obama administration,” says Abbas, “is doing nothing to support the Syrian people’s quest for freedom and democracy, and for the idea of a federalized Syria, which could reduce the influence of the MB, isolate Hezbollah, and contain the threat of Iran in the Middle East. In our view, the only people who will benefit in maintaining the current regime in Syria are Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.” So, why doesn’t the Obama administration support regime change in Syria or provide support for democratic groups such as the Syrian Democracy Council? Abbas believes that the Obama administration has leveraged its policy on Syria by giving Turkey a free hand to sort things out in Damascus and Aleppo.
Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, boosted by another decisive electoral victory earlier this year, has developed hegemonic ambitions for the region and beyond, and has assumed the mantle of protector of Sunni Islam. In the current upheaval in Syria, Erdogan (according to Asia Times):
made a startling claim that what happens in Syria is an “internal affair” for Turkey and not a foreign policy issue, given the 850 kilometer border between the two countries and their deep cultural and historical links. This is the first time Erdogan has hinted Turkey might intervene in Syria. It wasn’t one of those intemperate outbursts for which he is well-known. Erdogan intended it as a calculated affront to the Syrian regime and he had the Sunni Muslim Arab audience in mind.
Unlike President Obama, Sherkoh Abbas’s vision for Syria, under the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), would be most endearing to Americans. As he points out:
What we want is a stable, secure democratic and federal Syria, a free-market economy, peace with Israel and a country friendly towards the West. The current centralized Baathist government has proved that it is the cause of unrest, not only in Syria, but in neighboring countries and to the world as well. Syria, moreover, cannot be a stable state as long as the second largest ethnic groups – the Kurds – are marginalized and disenfranchised. If the SDC were to be in a position of power in Syria, we would respect Lebanese and Iraqi sovereignty, and we will guarantee security and peace to Israel.
Both houses of Congress, as well as the American people, must take the Obama administration to task for its policy choices. The Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should initiate immediate hearings on the State Department’s exclusion of the democratic opposition in Syria. The American people must be clear on where their country’s policy makers stand and are leading this country.
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