The Aleppo Betrayal

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hassan Mneimneh - The battle for Aleppo signals a decisive shift in the Syrian crisis: the rebels no longer have a credible path to toppling Assad. Instead, the Syrian revolution, which held the promise of overthrowing one of the most enduring and brutal dictatorships in the region, is faced with the prospect of being reduced to a rebellion. The Syrian revolution was betrayed by petty interest and myopic vision for sure, but first and foremost by Islamism in all of its expressions. The desire of the Syrian population to assert its dignity, freedom, and longing for political justice was hijacked by the stealth effort of local ideological Islamists, stemming from the Muslim Brothers. But, by many more orders of magnitude, the betrayal came in the form of an international jihadism claiming to come to the rescue of victimized Muslims. Young men from Chinese Xin Jiang, Russian Dagestan, or the Parisian suburbs competed in their suicide attacks to eradicate rival radical factions on Syrian soil. Iran cannot claim a clean victory in Syria. In addition to acquiescing to second status in the country, replaced by Russia's increased influence, Tehran had to use and deplete regional assets - such as the Lebanese Hizbullah, the crown jewel of its satellite agents. The writer is a contributing editor with the Washington Institute's Fikra Forum and a principal at Middle East Alternatives in Washington.

2016-12-09 00:00:00

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