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.”
Confused about the US policy on Islamic jihadis? Maybe this will help clarify a little: the more jihadism overlaps with the secular concept of Moqawama (resistance) and pursues irredentist and liberationist goals (i.e. Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kashmir), which are essentially DEFENSIVE and driven by a rejection of oppression, with no ambitions to cleanse the nation of “infidels”, then jihad
is terrorism. All other types (save the global jihad against the US and the West) are more than welcome, particularly the Salafi Takfiri and Wahhabi variants of jihad as well as the Qutbist variety, when they shift focus away from fighting the external enemy to the “enemy within”, i.e. fellow Muslims and minorities, as well as Arab/Muslim regimes on account of their perceived apostasy rather than their inherent injustice. While not entirely comfortable with jihadism, the US has learned to exploit it and hence favours offensive rather than defensive jihad, which strives to re-establish the “golden age” of Islam by forceful imposition because US policy works under the [sometimes erroneous] assumption that while Moqawama cannot be co-opted, Islamic rule can be.
The resistance hero, Samir Kuntar, who was imprisoned in Israel for 30 years on false charges and later released as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah, narrowly escaped being lynched by a group of 500 Salafi thugs armed with swords, batons, knives and other weapons, on his recent visit to Tunisia (see Akhbar Arabic’s story here). Five others were injured, some seriously. Akhbar reports that neither this nor other attacks have been deterred in the slightest by the Interior Ministry which is controlled by a Nahda official. The Salafis justified their attack by recalling Kuntar’s allegiance to Shi’ism (he is a Druze convert) and his support for the Syrian government.
Analysts point to a speech Kuntar made two days prior to the incident, when he called on al-Nahda leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi, to declare Tunisia a land of anti-normalization (with the Zionist entity) if he was indeed serious about liberating Palestine. Analysts say that this speech was regarded by some party cadres as a provocation which warranted a response. This is of course over and above the perpetrators of the crime, who are affiliated with Saudi-funded Wahhabi movements in Tunisia.
Al-Akhbar also notes that the assault on Kuntar occurred a day after an Iranian band was prevented from playing in Kairouan because of the band’s Shiite identity. Shi’ites in Tunisia protested the ban but were then “fiercely” attacked using “threatening” language to “discipline” them by Al-Nahda supporters on a Facebook page.
Akhbar also notes that the attack on Kuntar further antagonized the large number of Tunisians [Akhbar uses the term Tunisian “street” which I always avoid] who oppose al-Nahda and hold it responsible for the assault on Kuntar.