Syria’s Secular and Islamist Rebels: Who Are the Saudis and the Qataris Arming?

Out of Istanbul, the two Gulf states play a game of conflicting favorites that is getting in the way creating a unified rebel force to topple the Assad regime

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MARCO LONGARI / AFP / Getty Images

Syrian rebels take position during clashes with regime forces in the northern city of Aleppo on Sept. 14, 2012

Vast swaths of northern Syria, especially in the province of Idlib, have slipped out of the hands of President Bashar Assad, if not quite out of his reach. The area is now a de facto liberated zone, though the daily attacks by Damascus’ air force and the shelling from the handful of checkpoints and bases regime forces have fallen back to are reminders that the rebel hold on the territory remains fluid and fragile.

What is remarkable is that this substantial strip of “free” Syria has been patched together in the past 18 months by military defectors, students, tradesmen, farmers and pharmacists who have not only withstood the Syrian army’s withering fire but in some instances repelled it using a hodgepodge of limited, light weaponry. The feat is even more amazing when one considers the disarray among the outside powers supplying arms to the loosely allied band of rebels.

(PHOTOS: Syria’s Year of Chaos and Photos of a Slow-Motion War)

As TIME reports here, disorder and distrust plague two of the rebels’ international patrons: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The two Gulf powerhouses are no longer on the same page when it comes to determining who among the plethora of mushrooming Syrian rebel groups should be armed. The rift surfaced in August, with the alleged Saudi and Qatari representatives in charge of funneling free weaponry to the rebels clearly backing different factions among the groups — including various shades of secular and Islamist militias — under the broad umbrella that is the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The middlemen of the two countries operate out of Turkey, the regional military power. Ankara has been quite public with its denunciation of Assad even as it denies any involvement in shuffling weapons across the border to Syrian rebels. It claims its territory is not being used to do so. And yet, as TIME reported in June, a secretive group operates something like a command center in Istanbul, directing the distribution of vital military supplies believed to be provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and transported with the help of Turkish intelligence to the Syrian border and then to the rebels. Further reporting has revealed more details of the operation, the politics and favoritism that undermine the task of creating a unified rebel force out of the wide array of groups trying to topple the Assad regime.

(The FSA is nominally headed by Riad al-As’aad, who is based in Turkey. Neither As’aad nor his chief FSA rival General Mustafa Sheikh are party to the Istanbul control room that supplies and arms rebels who operate under the FSA banner. The two men each have their own sources of funding and are independently distributing money and weapons to selected FSA units.)

According to sources who have dealt with him, Saudi Arabia’s man in the Istanbul control center is a Lebanese politician named Okab Sakr. He belongs to the Future Movement, the organization of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which has a history of enmity with Damascus. (Syria was accused of complicity in the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father Rafiq.) The party has not made Sakr available to TIME, denies his involvement in any weapons deals and insists that Sakr is in Belgium “on leave” from his political duties.

However, he apparently was in the southern Turkish city of Antakya in late August. A TIME inquiry with an Antakya hotel confirms Sakr was in the area at the time. According to rebel sources who dealt with him, the Lebanese politician was there overseeing the distribution of batches of supplies — small consignments of 50,000 Kalashnikov bullets and several dozen rocket-propelled grenades — to at least four different FSA groups in Idlib province as well as larger consignments to other areas including Homs. The FSA sources also say he met with some commanders but not others — a selectivity that led to much chagrin.

(PHOTOS: Syria at War)

That kind of favoritism has caused problems on the ground in many ways. According to FSA sources, prominent activists and members of the Istanbul control room, Sakr was mainly responsible for designating the representatives in Syria’s 14 provinces to whom the Istanbul center would funnel small batches of light weapons — Kalashnikov rifles, BKC machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition — to reach FSA groups operating in each area. But the 20 or so Syrians selected to distribute armaments (some areas, like Damascus, have more than one representative) were not all effective. These representatives were “supposed to deliver the support inside, but they did not have a presence on the ground. They weren’t known,” says an influential U.S.-based Syrian activist with wide contacts inside Syria who played a role in setting up the Istanbul operations room. “I saw this weak point, so I connected Okab to people I knew were working on the ground. And I wasn’t the only one to do this. Others did too, because we wanted the room to succeed.”

But the selectivity has bred further favoritism in the distribution of arms. “Those who received goods would distribute them as they wanted. They started sending to people and saying, ‘This is a gift from me to you,’ ” a member of the control room representing eastern Syria told TIME. Other representatives were blunter, seeking pledges of loyalty from FSA groups inside the country before delivering the goods. To try to alleviate the problem, the provincial representatives were cycled in and out of the room’s operations, but the problems remained. “The weapons are all being distributed in secret,” says one fighter inside Syria, angrily, “and what is secret will stay unclear.”

The situation is compounded by Qatar’s man — a major who defected from Assad’s army, who has not yet responded to TIME’s request for comment. The Qataris want to focus on aiding the regional military councils, FSA groupings within Syria set up earlier this year partly in order to get around the favoritism of the representatives. (There are at least 10 military councils scattered throughout the country.) Goods would be delivered to a council and then distributed to the brigades under its umbrella. In practice, it wasn’t quite as easy or smooth. “We were given lists by brigade leaders of their men, but we stopped believing the numbers,” says a member of the Istanbul room from Syria’s Idlib province. However, the Saudis, via Okab Sakr, appear to want to support only certain groups within the councils and not others.

“We felt that the sides giving us support weren’t on the same page,” says the control-room member from eastern Syria. “They started having side meetings with some groups.” Still, he says, “what is most important is that the guys receive weapons. Whether that is via an operations room or directly, we don’t care. Nobody knows the truth from the talk,” he says. “We have been lied to [by the international community], and we have lied to the guys inside, saying weapons would arrive in a week, in 10 days, and months have passed and some areas haven’t received supplies. So unless I see it, and see it distributed, even I don’t believe it.”

In the town of Bdeeta in Idlib province — which happens to be the hometown of Riad al-As’aad — rebel fighters complain bitterly about the lack of assistance. “We are licking our plates. We beg for salt,” says Abu Mar’iye, who heads the Martyrs of Ibditha group in the tiny town, home to some 2,000 people. “It’s not enough. Even the weapons that arrive, it’s like a drop, just enough so the fighting continues, so we can kill each other but not win.”

(MORE: The Need to Bear Witness in Syria)

The men claim that groups with higher media profiles — those that produce the most sensational snippets of amateur video, the ones with the most YouTube hits — receive the largest share of the spoils, regardless of the strategic importance of their operations. The videos serve as advertisements to solicit funding and weapons not only from the Istanbul command center but also from private donors including clerics in the Gulf with massive fundraising abilities. “They taught us, Hit, film it, I’ll support you,” says a fighter named Nasr.

Colonel Afif Suleiman, the head of the Idlib Military Council, a grouping of 16 military units from across the vast province, is unhappy with the support he gets from the control room. He is angry with Sakr, who, he says, “got involved in the issue of weapons to split our ranks, to divide the revolutionaries.” Sakr, he says, recently “chose three people on our council and supported them. I won’t name them. They are not the largest units. There is one big group, but the others are just regular ones,” Suleiman tells TIME. “He formed a rift within the council, and we are working to heal this rift. We clarified the issue to our Saudi brothers about Okab. They promised that there will be no support, either military or financial, except via the councils. This is what they recently promised us.”

To complicate things further, the Qataris reportedly have strong ties to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, while the Saudis “don’t want any ties to anything called Muslim Brothers,” says Ahmad Zeidan, the nom de guerre of a member of the Idlib military council. According to several sources, the large group in the Idlib military council that Sakr supported — to the aggravation of Suleiman — is Jamal Maarouf’s Martyrs of Syria Battalion, because it “has a more neutral view of the Brothers,” a U.S.-based activist says.

The other big group in the Idlib military council is Ahmad Abu Issa’s Suqoor al-Sham, an Islamist group based in Jabal al-Zawya. Abu Issa is also no great friend of the Brotherhood. On Aug. 19, he announced his withdrawal from an Islamist coalition because he said the Brotherhood politicized it by naming it after their party rather than calling it something that reflected the diverse nature of the grouping.

It’s debatable how much support the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has within Syria, both politically and militarily, given that since the 1980s it has been a capital offense to be a member of the party. There has been much talk that the MB has little influence on the ground and that it will provide military and logistical support only in exchange for pledges of loyalty, part of its attempt to beef up its numbers. It’s a claim vigorously denied by Molham Aldrobi, an executive member of the MB and a founding member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the exiled political group that tried to represent the opposition early on. “This is absolutely not true. We do not discriminate based on loyalty to the MB,” he told TIME from his home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “The MB does exist in the ground. We work under the FSA umbrella,” he said, although he would not disclose the number of units, nor where within Syria the MB’s military groups were strongest. He did say, however, that there was at least one member of the MB in the Istanbul operations room.

Still, the Brotherhood is only one of the many Islamist groups operating in Syria. Some, like the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham, are not strictly part of the FSA, although in Idlib the group is part of the military council and therefore gets a smattering of support from the Istanbul control center as well. It’s a reflection of the fact that in most cases, in Idlib at least, rebel offensives are joint operations between groups of FSA fighters, Islamists, Salafists and even the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra group that some claim has ties to al-Qaeda. The bulk of Ahrar al-Sham’s substantial funding reportedly comes from Kuwait.

(MORE: Cover: Escape from Syria)

Similarly, some FSA groups, like Suqoor al-Sham, are also part of wider Islamist networks, largely to maximize the amount of support they can get. In a major development, Abu Issa has joined a powerful new pan-Syrian Islamist coalition called the Jabhat Tahrir Syria, or the Syrian Liberation Front, which groups several formidable, battle-hardened rebel outfits, including the famed Farouk Brigades of Homs.

Abu Issa insists he will remain part of the Idlib Military Council and that the Liberation Front will not overshadow anyone, even though it will likely be the most powerful armed body in Syria. “We acknowledge the others, just as they acknowledge us. The military councils can be a part of it,” he said. But the rebel leader bristled when asked about the influence of foreign players like Sakr. “We will not accept becoming tools for anyone, nor do we accept any living being, whether foreign or from within the revolution, acting in a manner to divide revolutionaries,” he told TIME.

Abu Issa, Suleiman and Maarouf, along with other high-profile rebel leaders from other provinces, spent much of August shuttling between Syria and Turkey to attend high-level meetings with diplomats and senior Syrian opposition. But U.S. diplomacy has yet to grasp the full complexity of the Syrian crisis. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to snub the SNC during an August trip to Istanbul was widely viewed as belated recognition by many activists inside Syria that the exiles comprising the body have little sway or credibility. The fact is, the guys with the guns do, although the State Department denies having any direct contact with members of the FSA. (The SNC does not have a role in the arming of the rebels inside Syria, though some individual SNC members are in the Istanbul control room representing their regions.)

The Obama Administration does not deal directly with the armed opposition, but it has authorized a nonprofit organization, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), to fundraise for the FSA. The SSG is composed of Syrian exiles in the U.S. and Canada as well as a former NATO political officer.

Zeidan, of the Idlib Military Council, doesn’t seem to differentiate between official U.S. policy and that of the SSG. He says he’s been in contact with members of the SSG for months. “I know that they are afraid of something called al-Qaeda. It’s all a big lie,” says Zeidan. “They talk about Ahrar al-Sham and Suqoor al-Sham. They are conservative Islamists, but they are not extremists. Many of these groups just want support.” He adds, “We are fighting to have a democratic country, not so that we can install people with American or European or Saudi agendas … We want to topple the regime, so whoever offers us help, we will call our units whatever they want as long as they support us. We just want to finish.”

PHOTOS: Escape from Syria: Photos by William Daniels
PHOTOS: Photographs of the Syrian Civil War

48 comments
p_vanostaeyen
p_vanostaeyen

@PhillipSmyth thank you. Will check it out tomorrow (11:30 PM in Belgium)

mansoor_kazmi
mansoor_kazmi

@AishaRoth_ I think we differ greatly on the understanding of help in this context...

خالد رفاعي
خالد رفاعي

I am Sure that this article was sponsored by Bashar Al Assad's intelligence.

Amir Suleiman
Amir Suleiman

machiavel as usual, it is not a matter justice

give me a cookie
give me a cookie

you gotta love all these comments, made by agents of Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi goverments (all shi`its), yes they have what it is called "syrian electronic army" have thousands of people who have a job to move over internet and make propoganda to support iran and syria and the genocide they are committing against innocent people of syria using weapons from Russia.

they are trying to distort facts and making every possible lie against the syrian who had enough of this dictatorship and want to get rid of it for once, if you say salafis, BH, Sunnis etc are terrorists, they you did not leave a single muslim out as simple as that.

the US is not helping syrians, you know why? because israel wants Assad to stay....the US media is claiming that syrians are terrorists and Alqaeda, while in Libya the same media did not call any one in libya a terrorist, Why? because israel was away and gaddafi was anti israel to some level, unlike syria where assad is in bed with israelis and he kept the israeli border the MOST safe border for israelis, not even egypt or jordan who have peace treaties with israel could do that like assad.

the world have sold out the women and children of Syria, because israel wants Assad to do what they couldn't, which is to destroy syria and mass murder the people, assad is doing that just fine, Russia is helping and China is helping with the veto drama as well.

Any way god is merciful, the FSA and the freedom fighters in syria are making great progress against bashaar, baath party and the rest of his direct allies (Hezbollah Iran and Russia) and against the indirect Allies the US, Israel, France and other EU bankrupted countries.

the FSA and the freedom fighters of all sorts in syria, are destroying an army of 450.000 backed up shi`it militias from hezbolla, Iran, Iraq and syria....with a limited supply of RPG's from stone age and AK47's....the power of will and bravery and sacrifice of syrian rebels is greater than any thing, thats what the US, Russia, Iran, Israel did not take into account and now they can't stop it...i'm glad syrians are winning with out any help from any out sider powers, so when they finish the baathist regime of damascus no one will have a say in syria, it will be pure syrian descision 100% all Hilary clould now who had a fit few months ago when she heared suggestion about arming rebels and did every thing to stop it, is now she will just sit,with Obama and bite her nails and watch as assad get over thrown and replaced by a real representive of the Syrian people, which of course the spoiled kid of the US (israel) wouldn't like at all.

Deadarab
Deadarab

Africa: Destroy islam so USA don't have to kill people

Pedram Farbod
Pedram Farbod

All Al-Qaeda militias, Wahhabis, Salafais are sunni and they are funding by sunni undemocratic government in the region, in which Bashar in compare to their political system is an Hyper-Leberal-Democrat. There will be no secure region and especially against western interests after BASHAR, all strategists are warning and the west is playing a dagerous game just because of isolating Iran, which is trying to balance the power in the region, Iran is more reliable than those Arab sunni pretending to be trusted allies there! Even Israel should think about it twice! 

Pedram Farbod
Pedram Farbod

American and Israeli should think about the fact that they brought all Al-Qaeda Militias togheter there and just back door of Israeli borders, think about the situation after Bashar, surprisingly any other governmental structure there will pursuit to have  popularity and mass supports and again surprisingly the main and only room there is, IS GOLAN!

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

When Muslims fight amidst themselves what can the outsider do? I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

Michelle Hackler
Michelle Hackler

This article shows that what goes on in the Middle East is not as simple as it appears.   One has to study and look into each event to understand what is actually happening.   President Obama does this.  Romney prejudges the situation and speaks before he knows all the facts.  Vote to re-elect President Obama.   He will stop to figure things out before we get into a big mess we don't understand.    We need to know the players and what there goals are.   We also need to know the players ties to us and if what they are doing are for or against our best interest.   We need to know who is playing who.   Romney just thinks he know, but doesn't.  Vote for Obama to be re-elected President.   Vote for Democrats in the House and the Senate.   

bradoornotme
bradoornotme

It is all  crystal clear ,,those extremists = salafis amp; wahabis who have stained the name of Islam and who have misinterpreted the holy Qur'an ,,, those who think that a daughter should not sit in front of her father without a hijab or a niqab lest her father is fascinated and attracted to her ,,, a dirty minded filthy ,,worst concept ,, those who have misinterpreted the Qur'an by permitting killing amp; slaughtering innocent people   in the name of Jihad ,, Allah 's words are clear ,,He states in the Qur'an = in one aya =  (  He who kills one person ( soul) is considered as if he kills all people) ,, so how does Allah permits killing ,, He also states in another Aya in the Qura'an = the soul is given by Allah and it is only He who is allowed to take it by death when one's life is ended ,, no one can take a soul but Allah ,,, The Saudis amp; Qataris are the best allies of the USA ,,Israel amp; the Zionists  ,,,  The Syrian people  have been living in peace and prosperity and they never have any problems ,,, I myself have been there few years ago ,, I did not see a beggar in the streets ,, but of course as long as those extremists have been kicked out of their masters' power = THE USA after their secrets have been revealed by the Wiki leaks documents ,,which made Hillary Clinton to confess and say the truth about Al-Qaida and how they supported and made it in order to defeat the Russian and Taliban ,,, what to do ,,, they have ammunition ,,and unless they are used  they might turn against the USA  ,, so the best way is to transport their crimes and slaughtering to Iraq,, now and then ,, other countries here and there ,,, BUT the best thing is to make them busy all the time and there is no other place but Syria ... PLEASE note that those extremists are like cancer = they are spreading their poison so quickly ,, they have turned Islam which is the religion of love , peace , mercy , forgiveness , virtues into a religion of violence , slaughtering and hatred ,,, they have misinterpreted the Qur'an according to their own  ill wills and dirty minds ,, they have in fact brought chaos and disaster to the whole world ,,,,

Aitreyan
Aitreyan

Most of weapons coming to Syria are from Libya...Libya has replaced Saudi as largest source of weapons to terror groups.

Some Libyan alqaeda are operating openly in Syria...groups like Liwa al-Ummah are headed by libyan jihadi's.

Aitreyan
Aitreyan

To hell with FSA terrorists alqaeda

swift2010
swift2010

also from history how were things sorted out /well the victors destroyed those they conquered /nowadys you have Human rights

swift2010
swift2010

if you look at history ie 700 years Muslims held Southern Spain but for most of that time huge internal divisions /

same with the Ottomans /so i am not surprised that sort of the ame today 

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney

Hey, N Vietnam whipped the biggest military machine on earth. The difference is between people who are fighting for a cause, and people who don't know what in  hell they're fighting for.

crazy american
crazy american

and who supplies weapons to saudi's and quataris?

WE!!!! 

i hope now we can sleep in peace especially when our weapons are doing the killing.

Heterotic
Heterotic

Given what is going on in the dis-functional so-called muslim world the West should tread very carefully, very slowly.

owl905
owl905

The diversity and disagreement within the uprising was there from the beginning.  It wasn't then, and isn't now, a classic rebellion.  It's a patchwork of local forces plus expat defectors plus some jihadists and terrorists.

Unfortunately, American support for the Syrian rebels took another nosedive thanks to the 'Death to America' movie-movement.

SRSwain
SRSwain

Doesn't look as if anybody has a clue as to where all this chaos is going.  "Be careful what you wish for..." seems to echo.  I can see how the poor and disenfranchised could have wished to throw off the Assad regime's claws and grasp, but what happens when ... (fill in the blanks)? comes to pass?  No wonder the "Superpowers" backed these regional dictatorships for so long.  This chaos is hard work.

wimroffel
wimroffel

The article finds it rather special that the rebels control a considerable part of Idlib province. I think it is what could be expected with a foreign sponsored armed uprising. The Taliban have achieved similar border areas in Afghanistan where even the Americans leave them alone. Yet opinion polls give the Taliban only a moderate support of around 10%.

rory2012
rory2012

That's why the West is being a D*ckHead.Get involved  something they had no idea what they are getting at. Using the innocent life to achieve their political means.

Abdou Diop
Abdou Diop

The Muslim Brotherhood,the Salafit extremists, the Islamists -Al Qaeda backed, it is altogher the same. If it´s true that the Syrian government is a dictatorship, we have to recognize that "the Freedom Fighters" are dangerous fundamentalists, who would threat the freedom of women and the minorities (Shii, Christians, Alawite...). And I wonder if there are people who believe that that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are more democratic than Syria.

AishaRoth_
AishaRoth_

@mansoor_kazmi. Okay Immigrationwise, Saudi can't help but when it comes to aid and weaponry that's when they can help other Muslims.

proletaria
proletaria

"nowadays you have Human rights"

Except in China, most of the Middle East and most of Africa.

Michelle Hackler
Michelle Hackler

Vietnam was a war that the United States couldn't win.   We just took over the mess from the French in the name of anti-Communism.   Imperialism and colonialism were dying and North Vietnam had the upper hand in being closer to the hearts of the people.   The Vietnam war is over and Vietnam while not an ally is our friend and trading partner and friendly to us.   In the last analysis who won the Vietnam war.   Vietnam did and in a strange turn of events we did too.

concerned reader
concerned reader

last time I checked, the US doesn't make Kalashnikovs or RPGs...

Lazarus_Rising
Lazarus_Rising

The West has just ONE political aim: To topple the Islamic regime in Tehran~ by any means possible. Syria is an unwavering Iranian ally. A change in the political landscape there, the West imagines and assumes, will weaken the West's greatest nemesis: The Mullahs of Iran. That's why. Even if the West has to sleep with and put out to Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahabis/Salafis  et al to achieve that elusive fantasy.

Deadarab
Deadarab

Egypt: Destroy islam so you don't have to kill people

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney

Saudi Arabia is a hellhole where the Wahabbists teach hate and violence. Where women are whipped to death because They were raped. Where girls are forced to die in a school fire because they are forbidden to leave since they didn't have veils. It is an Abominable, vile, degenerate country - and also the one that Really sent the 9-11 terrorists. We should have bombed them, not Iraq, which had nothing to do with it. But they have oil and the bin Ladens  were big friends of the Bushes, so we lied about the cause of 9-11 and continued to kiss Saudi butt for OIL. We Desperately need Energy Independence so we can get away from these monsters.

mansoor_kazmi
mansoor_kazmi

@AishaRoth_ What aid? Arming people that are hungry and without refuge is like giving burning someone to death because they're cold.

proletaria
proletaria

Can't let a little thing like common sense or reason get in the way of a good conspiracy.

Michelle Hackler
Michelle Hackler

This is really over simplifying matters.   There is a struggle in Islam, just like there is a Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and many other faiths between the traditionalists and strict constructions of each faith which wishes to implement a strict moral code in each religion which harshly punishes every one who does not follow it and those of each Faith that believe that God gave each person free will to make more decisions concerning matters which do not concern matters that are not part of a secular criminal system.    Criminal systems primary exist to settle disputes among members of its society and deal with matters of murder, thefts, fraud, traffic control and so on.   Secular governments keep records and legalize marriages and set the age for legal consent, but do not necessarily dictate who people of legal age marry.     The centers for the different fundamentalist sects in a Faith are in differing areas.    The Sunni center is in Saudi Arabia,  while the Shiite center is in Iran/Iraq.    However there are many other sects of Islam with differing fundamentalist center.   Christianity is also divided not just between the Catholics and Protestants, but you also have the Orthodox Christian sects which have centers in Moscow, Istanbul, and Greece.   There are the Marionites in Lebanon, and the Coptic Christians in Egypt.   There are the Gnostic Christians, and maybe some sects of the Arians in some small corners of the world.   Judaism also has many different sects.     All of these faiths have religious clerics some of which have strong personalities and their own little military.   In Islamic countries you live within your religious community, tribal group, and family and have no life outside of it.   

These differing families and tribal groups also jockey for political power with in regions of nations, the whole nation state, and some of the power of these families cross national boundaries.     

Within Shiite Islam, you are bound to tell the truth to the members of your religion and your friends,   but it is honorable to lie to your enemies especially if they are labeled satanic.  

When the United States worked with the other Islamic nations to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan as pay back for Vietnam, we got involved in this mess.   The enemies of our enemy were our friend.    When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan and ultimately bit the dust, many of the enemies of our enemy became our enemy and thus we have bin Laden.    At the moment the fundamentalists in Islam are not trying to impose there strict moral code on us, they are trying to enforce their strict moral code on their country men.    Our fundamentalist religious clerics are trying to force their strict moral code on us.    Fundamentalist Christians are trying to bring back. "an eye for an eye" strict moral Victorian moral code.    Which most Victorians only practiced in public,  while having no moral code in private.   All of these male dominated societies want to re-establish male dominance.

We live in a world wide community because of trade and communications and the social networks like Facebook.    Obama while not perfect understands this in a broader aspects than Romney.    We need four more years of President Obama.    Romney has shown he is not ready for prime time.

proletaria
proletaria

Sunnis don't particularly care for Iran either. I wager that Saudi and Qatari cash aren't streaming into Syria for charitable reasons. They want to eradicate the heretic Shiite Iranian theocracy much more so than any western power.

Push coming to shove a nuclear Iran will take on those weak little oil kingdoms long before it actually goes through with the suicidal blunder of nuking Jerusalem (which would, coincidentally, destroy the Dome Mosque and millions of Palestinian Muslims in the process).

I have to assume the cut/paste propaganda has more than one flavor.

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney

 Well, ain't it odd we Created the Islamic regime in Tehran, just like we created Al Quada. Iran was the first democracy in the Middle East, and our CIA overthrew it at the behest of - gasp - BP oil. BP sure paid us back.  The overthrow of a democratic government led to the Ayatollahs since the people hated the puppet dictator we installed.  This is not the first or last time we shot ourselves in the foot. The guy who made the "Muslim" video that is causing us trouble now was a meth dealer, a con man, and even watered down gasoline. Any crime for a profit. But he conned the stupid Justice Dept into letting him go. Good work, DOJ - releasing a lifetime criminal to do further damage to us all.

Eeman Aboukhalil
Eeman Aboukhalil

You are very good-hearted dear Jim, i am a syrian citizen, and i thank you for your words of truth about the people who are supporting rebels in my country. But they can do that only after the permission of their masters in the USA. And by the way: 9-11 was an inside job, you just google "911 truth" and read. The 19 terrrists that supposedly performed that event should be dead, but at least 7 of them called american authorities and asked to remove their names from the 19 list.

KarimRonaldo
KarimRonaldo

like Denise implied I'm stunned that any one can profit $5036 in a few weeks on the network. did you look at this(Click on menu Home)

Tracy B. Adamson
Tracy B. Adamson

That's why. Even if the West has to sleep with and put out to Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahabis/Salafis  et al to achieve that elusive fantasy. http://goo.gl/TSGKX

Tracy B. Adamson
Tracy B. Adamson

A change in the political landscape there, the West imagines and assumes, will weaken the West's greatest nemesis: The Mullahs of Iran. http://goo.gl/zWgLS

AishaRoth_
AishaRoth_

@mansoor_kazmi. Okay I will look that up. CNN and TIME have nothing against Islam. Adieu dude.

mansoor_kazmi
mansoor_kazmi

@AishaRoth_ And before u gimme an irrelevant post from a western media website that WILL never post a good story about Islam I bid u adieu

mansoor_kazmi
mansoor_kazmi

@AishaRoth_ You have irrefutable evidence that the Shia countries/community has not or isn't helping Muslims throughout the world?

mansoor_kazmi
mansoor_kazmi

@AishaRoth_ Are you able to make a coherent point or just degrade a whole group of about 300million Shia with one statement assuming(cont)

AishaRoth_
AishaRoth_

@mansoor_kazmi. We offer a lot more than the Shia countries. Especially when they back a regime which endorse kufr.

Michelle Hackler
Michelle Hackler

Both Saudi and Qatari are Sunnis the competition here probably concerns which country will have more influence in Syria in the new government if Assad falls.   The Sunni and Shiite conflict goes back to time of Mohamed's death and concerns his succession.    Its more a matter of which sect will control Syria.   This becomes a matter of majority control of the country and minority control.   Also we have conflicts among the ethnic peoples living in Syria and the place of each ethnic group in the new government.   Also the Assads are a large tribal family and what place will they play in the new government.   The same political party that ran Iraq also runs Syria.    So forming a new government in Syria will be as big a mess as Iraq.    Then we have Syria's political domination of Lebanon and how this plays into forming a new government.   Then there is also the generals and the Syrian arm forces who are players.    

This is a lot for a big mouth like Romney to understand and sort out and its a big reason to stay out of it.   Libya was different because Italy had always played a big part in the history of Libya and all NATO's air forces had to do was fly from bases in France, Italy, and Germany across the Mediterranean Sea to bomb  and fly home.  Syria is not so simple.   The French were involved in Syria and Lebanon after World War I.    Its harder to set up a no fly zone from France to Syria, than it was from Italy to Libya.    

We can't afford to put Syria back together and if we ever invade Iran we can't afford to do nation building there.   Romney's foreign policy is failed from its inception.     The elder Bush had perfectly good reasons to stop US troops where he did after freeing Kuwait.    He had been head of the CIA.   George Bush junior was not as wise and he involved the United States in a ten year mess in Iraq.    Romney has the same foreign relations advisers as Bush, jr did and they really want another war.  

Vote for President Obama.