Monday, October 10, 2005

Syria: Coup d'Assad?

My colleagues Michael Hirsh and Kevin Peraino have a sharp, disturbing article in the current Newsweek, "Dangers in Damascus," about the disarray in American policy toward Syria:

...If al-Assad's rigidly secular regime were toppled, the nation's mosaic of competing sects and ethnicities could explode into conflict. Islamist radicals—including a group called Soldiers of the Levant—are already gaining influence in Syria, where they were once ruthlessly crushed. This comes as Qaeda-linked groups are trying to spread the jihadist contagion regionally, according to an alleged letter from Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri last week.
Critics say that the Bush administration isn't encouraging Syria's democrats just now—but neither is it willing to work with Syria's dictator. And in the absence of any cooperation between governments, jihadists are moving across Syria's 310-mile border with Iraq to join the insurgency. Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to Washington, told NEWSWEEK that Damascus ended all security and intelligence cooperation with America several months ago, and it has not resumed...

For those who want more detail, there are fascinating discussions about the whys, hows and wherefores of coup plotting against Assad on Joshual Landis's . - CD

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