May 14, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7469

Lebanese Journalist Warns: Defeat, Exclusion Of Sunnis In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon Will Give Rise To New ISIS

May 14, 2018
Iraq, Lebanon, Syria | Special Dispatch No. 7469

In view of the ongoing victories of Assad's army in Syria and the apparent defeat of the Syrian opposition forces, on the eve of the elections in Iraq and Lebanon, Lebanese journalist Hazem Al-Amin, head of investigations and features at the Dubai-based Al-Hayat daily, published an article titled "Pessimism," in which he discussed the defeat recently suffered by the Sunnis in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He wrote that the Sunnis are excluded from affecting policy in these countries, which are under the influence of Iran, and that the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and in Syria is perceived as the defeat of all Sunnis. This situation, he said, is likely to spawn a new violent organization similar to ISIS, which will strike at Arab countries, just as ISIS emerged from the Sunni parts of these countries after the Sunnis lost their dominant position there.

The following is a translation of the main points of the article:[1]

"Amid the tripartite sectarian conflict in the Mashreq [in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon], there is a huge vacuum: the Sunni Arabs. ISIS was born out of this vacuum and was destroyed within it! This sector – the Sunni Arabs – is absent today from all the alternative plans [for a solution to the crises in these countries]... because, according to the perceptions of the other groups, this sector [the Sunni Arabs] has already been defeated...

"Therefore we must anticipate the birth of a new entity: an offspring of ISIS or something similar, which will remind us again that this vacuum isn't real and that there is something going on there. [It's true that this new entity] has no political resonance at the moment, but it will impose itself soon enough. In Iraq the Sunni Arabs have no influence on the current political activity, in Syria they are defeated time and again, and in Lebanon they have been annexed to the 'Hizbullah State' project.

"Today it is said that Bashar Al-Assad will remain in power. This is a defeat for the sector that he oppressed and that rebelled against him [i.e. the Sunni Arabs]. In Iraq, parliamentary elections are being held after ISIS's defeat, and the Sunni Arabs are the weak link in these elections. And in Lebanon, where sectarianism is a reality that cannot be ignored, the Sunnis are competing with their rivals in the elections while accepting the country's identity as the 'Hizbullah State.'

"This is a flawed state of affairs and will lead to wars. Stability is unlikely in this [situation]. We have [already] begun to hear that ISIS is regrouping in some areas within the vacuum in Iraq. In Syria the Americans are expected to withdraw, as their president said, and this withdrawal means that the Sunni Arabs will be abandoned, [left alone to] face Bashar Al-Assad and the Iranian [Shi'ite] militias. In no time, this bad situation will spawn a monster. While the situation in Lebanon is not as bad as the situation in its sister countries, Syria and Iraq, even Lebanon will not be spared if the monster reawakens...

"If the political forces that represent this sector [the Sunnis] in these three countries are prevented from influencing their own future, this will gradually lead to wars. This is a lesson we have failed to learn from the civil wars in which we have been wallowing for decades: following the defeat of a certain civilian sector [the Sunnis], it is impossible to return to normal life and there will be no stability in these countries.

"The elections in Iraq and Lebanon will seem more like a renewal of the wars, and in Syria the tragedy is twofold, since the world is preparing to once again to welcome Assad as president...

"Today, the Sunni Arabs in the three Mashreq [countries, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon,] are excluded from the discourse. The competition in the Iraqi elections will be between Shi'ites and Shi'ites, and between Shi'ites and Kurds. Neither the Sunni Arabs nor the results of their votes will have any impact on the future of Iraq... In Lebanon, it is safe to assume that Sa'd Al-Hariri will win the election, but he has become a different person since finding himself alone in the fray against Hizbullah, whose [forces] are arrayed from the ocean to the Gulf... In Iraq the [ISIS] organization has renewed some of its activity, in Syria we expect an American withdrawal which will create a tremendous vacuum, and in Lebanon the situation is not dissimilar from that of its neighbors.

In view of this vacuum, it would be unwise to anticipate anything other than wars."





[1] Al-Hayat (Dubai), April 2, 2018.

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