Hopefully, the Beltway foreign policy clerisy will heed the monitory advice of one of our best informed analysts. Michael Rubin’s post at Commentary reminds me of the phenomenon I began to witness and wonder about in 1993: How it was that Washington political officials, who knew precious little about Islam, presumed to know more about the “true” Muslim creed than scholars like the Blind Sheikh, who were renowned and in a position to command acts of terrorism because of their lifetimes spent mastering Islamic scripture and sharia jurisprudence. Michael, who has been traveling in Iraq and speaking to the locals who are intimately familiar with their Syrian neighbors, writes:
With all due respect to congressmen and some advocates for arming the Syrian rebels, those in the region are better able to vet Syrian rebels than U.S. officials 6,000 miles away.
And upon vetting the “rebels,” what is their conclusion?
[W]hen I visited Iraq last October, many Iraqi Shi’ites warned against any support for the Syrian opposition, claiming they were more radical than the Americans realized…. This trip, however, has been a wake-up call: Not only Iraqi Shi’ites, but also Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Kurds, and even many Iraqi Sunnis oppose American provision of arms to the Syrian rebels on the grounds that the Syrian rebels are either more radical than the Americans realize, or that nothing will prevent the so-called moderates whom the United States arms from selling or losing the weaponry to the radicals. There is a real sense of urgency, here, as Iraqis believe they will be the first victims of Sunni radicalism in neighboring Syria.
It is worth emphasizing that, like many of us opposed to intervention on the side of the Sunni Islamic supremacists who dominate the Syrian “rebel” factions, Michael is no fan of the heinous Assad regime, as no agenda to perpetuate it, has no illusions about the insidiousness of Assad’s backers in Tehran and Moscow, and has no hesitation about the use of American force to protect America’s vital interests in the world. The point is that our interests are not furthered by arming America’s enemies – or by rationalizing the arming of “moderates” who either are not moderate or will eventually be brushed aside by the far stronger sharia supremacist forces.