Aussenministerin Clintons Illusionen in Syrien

Themenbezogene Interessenbindung der Autorin/des AutorsJoshua Landis ist Professor für Internationale Beziehungen und Direktor des «Center for Middle East Studies» an ©

Prof. Joshua Landis /  Die USA wollen nur wohlgesinnte Oppositionelle unterstützen. Diese Politik ist wahrscheinlich zum Scheitern verurteilt.

Red. Die syrische Opposition ist zersplittert, so dass der Aufstand zu einem Kampf aller gegen alle zu werden droht. Schon heute bekämpfen sich Angehörige verschiedener Rebelleneinheiten gegenseitig. Die meisten aber sind sich nach Berichten von Nachrichtenagenturen einig: US-Aussenministerin Hillary Clinton soll sich nicht einmischen.
Oppositionelle Gruppen kritisierten Clinton, die in der vergangenen Woche erklärt hatte, der oppositionelle Syrische Nationalrat (SNC) müsse von seinem alleinigen Führungsanspruch abrücken.
Heute Montag erklärten lokale Koordinationskomitees in Syrien, die verschiedenen Dissidenten-Gruppen sollen ihre persönlichen Interessen und Rivalitäten zurückzustellen. Der Appell richtet sich an die Oppositionellen, die in dieser Woche in Katar über eine neue Führungsstruktur beraten.
Ziel der Konferenz in Katar ist ein neues Führungsgremium von 50 Oppositionellen, die später eine Übergangsregierung bilden sollen. Die USA und Katar wollen dafür sorgen, dass Kräfte, die den USA feindlich gesinnt sind, ausgeschlossen werden. Diese Pläne kritisierte am Montag in Kairo der russische Aussenminister Sergej Lawrow. Er sagte, es sei falsch eine Opposition zu fördern, die nicht bereit sei, einen Dialog mit der syrischen Führung unter Präsident Baschar al-Assad zu führen.
Der Syrien-Spezialist Professor Joshua Landis befürchtet im folgenden Kommentar, dass die USA diesmal gleiche Fehler machen wie schon vor fünfzig Jahren und ein Misserfolg wahrscheinlich sei.


Already the Syrian opposition’s back biting and emulous factions seem determined to sink Washington’s latest effort. Hillary Clinton is having a last go a putting together a «secularish», upper-class leadership for the Syrian rebel effort. A swansong?

Washington’s Plan A, which was to create the SNC, went down in dust. By all accounts, Clinton cannot even stand to hear the name, SNC, uttered any longer.

Plan B was to set up the US office in Istanbul to meet and take the measure of Syrian militia leaders and local coordinating committee directors. The militia leaders scared Washington and the CIA. The word got out that they were «penetrated» by al-Qaida and Salafi types.

Plan C is now in the making. It is to return to the educated Syrians in the hope of doing a little shake-and-bake. Clinton is reconstituting some sort of US-friendly leadership drawn from elements of the old SNC with generous add-mixtures of Coordinating Committee types, some government defectors, and others who will join. It sounds as if the SNC is boycotting. Michel Kilo has said he will not join. Others are also taking a wait-and-see attitude.

The object of this exercise seems to be to glue some sort of US-friendly educated elite onto the military effort that looks too Islamist for Washington’s taste and not very human-rights observant.

But can this last minute fix possibly work?

This effort is almost identical to US and British efforts of the 1950s to stop Syria from slipping into the hands of the USSR, Nasser and the leftist Baathists.

Eisenhower and Anthony Eden did everything they could in 1956 to force Syria’s urban elites to cooperate in a pro-Western coup, but to no avail. The two largest parties in parliament – the People’s Party of Aleppo and the National Party of Damascus refused to cooperate among themselves in order to avoid revolution. Pro-Western Syrian politicians insulted and fought amongst themselves with such ferocity, that Western diplomats pulled their hair with despair as they sought to keep Syria from going «commie».

When the coup failed, many of Syria’s leading pro-Western notables were accused of treason and fled the country. In 1957, the US sought to carry out another putsch, this time on its own. The «American coup», as it was named, was no more successful. Some of the CIA operatives in charge of handling the Syrians are still alive. Additional Syrian politicians sympathetic to the West were forced to flee the country. Destabilized by Washington’s failed coup making, Syria announced the creation of the United Arab Republic only months later. Nasser become president and carried out wide-ranging land reform in order to destroy the economic underpinnings of the urban notables that had allied with the West.

Today, Washington is again trying to rally the pro-Western elites of Syria into putting their shoulders to a common wheel with America. In 1957, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq cooperated in Washington’s efforts for regime change. Today Qatar replaces Iraq, but the line up of states helping the US in its «struggle for Syria» has hardly changed. Other aspects that have not changed are the infighting among Syria’s elites and the general resentment and distrust that Syrians share toward the US. It is hard to be optimistic.

Syria is disintegrating ever more quickly into every more factions.

This week we have reports of Palestinians killing Palestinians in Yarmouk and Tadamon. Kurds and Arabs are fighting, although, it appears the rebel woman commander Dejik Nurin is NOT dead. There is an urgent effort afoot to smooth over the hostilities between FSA and the Kurds. Barzani, Iraq’s president warned Syrian Kurds not to fight among themselves or to be sucked into the »fires of discord.”

Various FSA militias are fighting among themselves for checkpoints and border crossings. Car bombs and kidnappings abound. An Islamist car suicide bomber, reportedly from al-Nusra Front, drove into a center used as a base by Syrian security forces and pro-government militia in Hama province, killing at least 50 people. The poor are plundering the rich. The rich are fleeing in every greater numbers in order not to become targets of the poor. Everyone has a price-tag on his head. Wow to those who have wealthy relatives in the West. The cousin of a friend just went down stairs in Aleppo this morning to find, »You are next. Allahu Akbar,” written on the windshield of his car. He called wealthy relatives in the US. They are flying him and his family from Aleppo to Beirut on Friday. Their thinking is that they will spend much more on him when he is kidnapped. It is less expensive to pay for him to leave today than ransom him tomorrow.

The FSA captured an oilfield near Dayr az-Zur, which is only one among many to be had, but how anyone can make money from oilfields today is unclear. I have published maps of the oil fields. The Kurdish region has many, which should be able to pay for autonomy and perhaps eventual independence. Aleppo will be turned into a wasteland because it is the major prize of the North. The FSA moved into Aleppo too quickly, before having any plan for capturing it. But once in, there was no turning back. It is too important a prize for either side to leave to the other. Only the poor will remain in Aleppo.

Wealthier Syrians are confabbing in Doha with the Emirs and Americans in an effort to somehow get regime-change without a loss of control. But the meltdown is well on its way and has a dynamic all its own. There is no stopping it now. Syria is unleashed. Guns rule and the strong will eat the weak. Brahimi speaks of Syria turning into Somalia and a »big catastrophe.” If that happens, it will become a prime target for American and Israeli drones, which will troll the skies in hunting aL-Qaida and those with a long beards, as is the case in Pakistan and Yemen.

Diese Beiträge erschienen im Blog «Syria Comment»

Weiterführende Informationen

Themenbezogene Interessenbindung der Autorin/des Autors

Joshua Landis ist Professor für Internationale Beziehungen und Direktor des «Center for Middle East Studies» an der University Oklahoma, USA. Landis spricht fliessend Arabisch, Französisch und Englisch. Seine Familie lebte zuerst in Saudiarabien und im Libanon.

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