Syria. Are the “moderate” rebels really Muslim Brotherhood terrorists? What was all of the controversy about last week US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Syrian rebels are now more defined by ”moderation” and desire an “all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution”. Who are the rebels, the regime and the Kurds? What is going on over there? Who controls what in Syria?
Refining Truth has uncovered one of the best news reports on the subject to date. Chris Mitchell appearing on the television program Jerusalem Dateline interviewed Dr. Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel. In this brief but detailed interview Dr. Spyer clearly explains each of the factions, their composition and goals as well as mapping their position in Syria.
Watch the complete five minute broadcast here. A summary transcript is posted below.
Jerusalem Dateline TV Program Explains Syria
The rebel controlled part of the area, Mainly a Sunni Arab populated area. The rebels control about half of the country. It is important to note that a large part of the center of the country is uninhabitable. The population tends to be around the borders.
Regime controlled Syria which takes up roughly 40 percent of the territory including the capital of Damascus. But very importantly the regime controls the western coastal area, including the Russian naval base at Tartus, Syria
The third area is controlled by the Kurdish people, the YPG Militia
One of the most important issues right now is who are the rebels and are they moderate. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the rebels are actually getting more moderate.
“No, that is — no, that is actually basically not true. It’s basically incorrect. The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria. And that’s very critical,” statement made by Secretary of State John Kerry while appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
There are three important rebel blocks. The first and smallest is Al Qaida. A larger group is the Islamic Front, these people are committed to an Islamic state and not to a democratic state. They are openly Islamists.
Then there is the largest group called the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. These are the ones most often described as the moderate. These are the people being talked about such as John Kerry when they speak of moderates.
Jonathan Spyer spent some time with the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front and would not describe them as moderates. These are people with a Muslim Brotherhood type of outlook. It doesn’t mean that they are necessarily organizationally connected but it’s that type of politics that we are familiar with Hamas or from Morsi down in Egypt, it’s that kind of politics.
And I would question very much the description we are hearing a lot from the media right now as those people as being moderates. Those people are Islamists, not all are Al Qaeda but Islamists.
The Rebels in Syria: What type of world view do they hold?
If we look at some of the examples we have right now of Hamas controlled Gaza or the year that just ended in Egypt, the yearlong “experiment” of Muslim Brotherhood governance down in Egypt, those are the kind of examples we should be looking at to learn what it would be like if the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front took over Syria.
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