As Syria’s rebel militias become more lethal, foreign analysts are trying to determine how Islamic they are, how to unify them, and what role the West can play in guiding Syria toward an outcome favorable to its interests.
The Syrian government is exploiting Western concerns that the Syrian militias could turn out to be harmful to Western and Israeli interests.
Deborah Amos explains that Damascus is arresting most moderates in an evident attempt to create an “either-or” dilemma for Western governments and Syrians themselves: they must choose either between and Assad dictatorship or divided Islamists. This has been the Assad strategy for 40 years.
Liz Sly explains that in fact the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining influence over the revolt.
Sharmine Narwani, in contrast to Deborah Amos, highlights the brutal and Islamist characteristics of some of the rebel groups, suggesting that the stark choices Syrians face are not manufactured by the Assad regime, but real. She suggests that the Western press has tried to whitewashed the distasteful realities of Homs’ Farouq Battalion to fit its narrative of brutal regime versus good people.