How Arab backers of the Syrian rebels see Iraq

Marc Lynch writes: As the Obama administration debates whether and how to intervene in Iraq’s rapidly unfolding crisis, many advocates of intervention have argued that action in Iraq should be matched by action in Syria. Should the United States actually intervene militarily in support of the Iraqi government, however, it should know that it will be on the opposite side of many of the Arab networks that support the Syrian uprising.

That’s not because they support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been in a state of open warfare with most other Syrian rebel groups. They just mostly don’t see ISIS as the primary issue. Many of the most vocal Arab backers of Syria’s rebels support what they cast as an Iraqi popular revolution against an Iranian-backed sectarian despot. They equate the Iraqi uprising with the Syrian uprising, as a Sunni revolution against a Shiite tyrant, and actively oppose U.S. or Arab intervention against it. For just one example, the Kuwaiti Islamist preacher Hajjaj al-Ajmi, who has been one of the most prominent fundraisers for Syrian insurgency groups, has urged repeatedly against supporting “the moves by America and Iran to confront the Iraqi revolution.”

That seems to be a popular view, at least among those sectors of the Arab public most invested in supporting the Syrian insurgency. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email