In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m blue in the face. If you’ve ever had a dream in which you’re screaming at people about something important and they ignore you like you’re not even there, that’s what I feel like sometimes. I have been making the argument that the best possible outcome in Syria would be for it to remain under the control of Iran, not because Iran is a friendly nation but because the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region needs a counter-balance.
Now we have a significant development taking place in Syria that amounts to a significant victory for the Muslim Brotherhood and, by extension, Turkey. It’s now being reported that Hamas, which is essentially an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, has decided to drop its support of Assad, a longtime ally, and throw that support behind the Syrian rebels.
From Reuters, via the Chicago Tribune:
Leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas turned publicly against their long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Friday, endorsing the revolt aimed at overthrowing his dynastic rule.
The policy shift deprives Assad of one of his few remaining Sunni Muslim supporters in the Arab world and deepens his international isolation. It was announced in Hamas speeches at Friday prayers in Cairo and a rally in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas went public after nearly a year of equivocating as Assad’s army, largely led by fellow members of the president’s Alawite sect, has crushed mainly Sunni protesters and rebels.
In a Middle East split along sectarian lines between Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, the public abandonment of Assad casts immediate questions over Hamas’s future ties with its principal backer Iran, which has stuck by its ally Assad, as well as with Iran’s fellow Shi’ite allies in Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.
“I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, visiting Egypt from the Gaza Strip, told thousands of Friday worshippers at Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque.
For Hamas to ditch Assad, the situation on the ground in Syria must be deteriorating significantly for the regime. This latest development both reflects that reality and is very likely to quicken it. Here is a key excerpt from the reuters piece:
…as the Sunni-Shi’ite split in the Middle East deepens, Hamas appears to have cast its lot with the powerful, Egypt-based Sunni Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose star has been in the ascendant since the Arab Spring revolts last year.
This is precisely why it would be better for Syria to remain under the control of Iran. The moderate face of the Muslim Brotherhood is intentionally deceptive; it’s also proving to be very effective at deceiving the West. Remember, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham supported arming the rebels against Assad.
The article concludes thusly:
Anything that divides Hamas and Hezbollah is likely to be welcomed by Israel, which has been watching warily recent moves by Hamas to reconcile differences with its Palestinian rivals in Fatah, the movement of President Mahmoud Abbas.
While the first part of that statement is true, it neglects the fact that any such division benefits Israel to a greater extent if both Hamas and Hezbollah are evenly divided. This latest development leaves Hamas with a much greater advantage. When the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas) takes Syria, look for it to take Lebanon as well. In any war between the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam, Israel benefits more when that war is balanced. Let’s take stock of how each side is doing.
Iran has control of Iraq.
The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood either has (or likely will have) control of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Syria, and Lebanon. Seemingly lost on everyone in the West is Turkey’s role. While the Brotherhood is an umbrella for multiple Sunni groups / organizations, like al-Qaeda, Hamas, CAIR, ISNA, MSA, etc. etc., Turkey seeks to be the larger umbrella over the Muslim Brotherhood.
When Syria falls to the rebels, the Brotherhood gains an incredible victory and by extension, so does Turkey. If I sound redundant, please remember I’m blue in face.
h/t Weasel Zippers