Published: 18 February, 2012, 06:39
An armed Free Syrian Army rebel stands inside a house in the north Syrian city of Binnish on February 15, 2012 (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)
The US and Al-Qaeda are using each other to topple President Assad, believes Camille Otrakji, editor of online magazine Syria Comment.
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said Al-Qaeda is working alongside Syria’s armed opposition, while Washington considers extending support to the rebels.
Otrakji told RT that both sides think they are using the other, hoping to control them later.
“For example, the Islamists and Al-Qaeda think, 'We can have an alliance with the Americans or with any secular opposition forces, but later we will be in power,' and the Americans think they can use Al-Qaeda temporarily, if they have to, to get rid of the Syrian regime, and they will somehow manage to get rid of them. So, unfortunately they are apparently working together.”
The journalist added that it is important to understand how decision-making takes place in Washington D.C.
“Some people really do not care about what will happen in Syria after. For example, there are factions that just want to punish the Syrian regime – I’ve heard this from someone in Washington – for their help in 1982, when Hezbollah attacked US troops in Lebanon.”
And others, Otrakji said, are optimistic, thinking that there will be elections and that Syria is secular enough that Al-Qaeda factions or other Islamists will not win.
“So, they just want to be hopeful for now, all they want to focus on now is to get rid of the regime – then, they think, they will manage somehow.”
And journalist and peace activist Don Debar said the US have already become some allies with Al-Qaeda in Libya.
“First of all, the US is bedfellows with Al-Qaeda in Libya already. Secondly, if you look at the history of al-Qaeda, actually they are a successive group to the allies the US had in Afghanistan when it was fighting the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”
Debar also remembered a recent comment by Al-Qaeda that they were backing the Syrian rebels, which he said is “the same group the US is not only backing, but has been arming and training.”
“So it’s not whether it will happen or not – it’s really been happening,” the activist concluded.