In an article posted on the website of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (www.ikhwansyria.com), Faisal Al-Sheikh Muhammad, a movement member and regular contributor to the site, harshly criticized the policies of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Al-Sheikh Muhammad wrote that Assad and Ahmadinejad were sabotaging all attempts to reduce tension in Iraq and Lebanon, and were even threatening to ignite the entire region in order to divert world attention from the Iranian nuclear issue and from the issue of the international tribunal for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri.
The following are excerpts:
"They Are Holding Cards That Are Affecting The Region"
"At his inauguration [for his] second [term in office], Bashar remarked that, in the next few months, the region and the whole world would change, while the Iranian president warned that the summer would be hot.
"These two individuals do not usually issue such warnings for nothing: The truth is that they are holding cards that are affecting the region – each according to his ability and power. While Ahmadinejad is brandishing his nuclear plans, which scare the West, as well as the issue of the Iraqi quagmire into which the U.S. military is sinking, Assad is flaunting the Lebanese case, along with the terrorist organizations which he has established, financed, and armed, and which he has the power to deploy whenever and wherever he wants.
"We already know that Tehran and Damascus are trying to impede and sabotage any consensual solution in Iraq and Lebanon that will calm the situation in the region, gradually stabilize security, and reestablish peaceful coexistence within the Lebanese and Iraqi societies. The agenda of both Ahmadinejad and Assad is [to leave] the two countries in the grip of destructive anarchy... in order to keep the U.S., Europe and the world occupied, thus preventing them from confronting the Syrian and Iranian leaders, [as would occur] if [any] settlement were reached in Lebanon and Iraq.
"Soul-mates Ahmadinejad and Bashar are Playing for Time and [Taking] Preventive Steps to Preserve the Status Quo on Iraq and Lebanon"
"The world's continued preoccupation with Beirut and Baghdad – the two hotspots which are, in effect, a powder keg that endangers the region and the whole world, and which Ahmadinejad and Assad are threatening to blow up – is bound to turn the entire region into a bloodbath, should any degree of success be attained in [the efforts to] sabotage the Iranian nuclear project or to thwart Damascus's attempts to prevent the establishment of the international tribunal [for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri].
"Soul-mates Ahmadinejad and Bashar are playing for time, and [taking] preventive steps to preserve the status quo in Iraq and Lebanon. Everything we hear about meetings between Iranian and U.S. representatives over the situation in Iraq is nothing but another diplomatic game [played] by Iran, contemptible but ever brilliant at fraud and deception.
"They are Deviously and Malevolently Aspiring to Destroy This Region, With Which They Feel Neither Affinity Nor Kinship"
"The same goes for Damascus, which announces at every opportunity that it is in favor of any agreement acceptable to the Lebanese for solving their problems and [reaching] internal consensus, while [in reality] both its reasoning and actions are against [a solution in Lebanon].
"Ahmadinejad wants to buy time in order to obtain nuclear weapons and to force the world to face this as a fait accompli. Indeed, yesterday he declared that the world must accept Iran as the ninth nuclear country (after the five superpowers, India, Pakistan, and North Korea). Bashar, in turn, wants to convince the world that [the road] to peace and security in Lebanon passes through Damascus.
"It appears that what the allies Ahmadinejad and Bashar are proclaiming is no secret: the region is sitting on a powder keg, whose explosion would alter the geopolitical situation of the entire area… They are aware that the focal points of the explosion, as well as the means and tools for its execution, are in their hands. They are deviously and malevolently aspiring to destroy this region, with which they feel neither affinity nor kinship."