The Day After

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS (Own report) - German-US-American plans for Syria's transformation along the lines of the Western model are already meeting resistance, even before the possible overthrow of the Assad regime. For months, German government advisors from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) have been working on measures to be immediately implemented following an overthrow of the government in Damascus. These plans are being forged in the German capital in collaboration with the state financed United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and about 45 Syrian opponents, with the objective of installing a pro-western regime in Damascus as soon as possible. Inside Syria, however, it is becoming more and more apparent that influential insurgent militias will not submit to the West and will insist on their independence, according to a study, focused on the example of one military rebel unit near Aleppo. The Islamist oriented forces among the militias would have to be given more influence in Syria's transformation. An enhanced role of Islamist forces in Syria is also among the plans developed by SWP and USIP in Berlin, which, if successful, could end Syria's alliance with Iran for the foreseeable future, further isolating Teheran.

Taking Control of Damascus

Since January, plans for Syria's transformation along the lines of the Western model are being developed in Berlin. Government advisors of the state financed German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and functionaries of the state financed United States Institute for Peace (USIP) - along with around 45 representatives of the Syrian opposition - have been elaborating the most important measures to be implemented immediately following the possible overthrow of the Assad regime. Some of these immediate measures are aimed at preventing a total collapse of state structures and the disintegration of the country. Concepts are also being developed, for example, for Syria's future justice system. The selection of Syrian opponents, participating in the elaboration of these plans - who are supposed to implement them after the regime in Damascus is overthrown - is, itself, already a preliminary decision on the future regime personnel in Syria - a decision taken in Washington and Berlin.

German-US-American Plans

To avoid that the participants in this German-US-American project named "The Day After," are denounced, a priori, as puppets of Berlin and Washington, reports on the project, published last week, explained that the Syrians were discussing without interference from German government representatives. This is a rather strange assertion, given the fact that, even though the SWP and USIP are not employing officials of the government or its ministries, they both, nevertheless, have direct ties to government bodies in Berlin and Washington.[1] An office in Berlin headed by a German expert is also currently elaborating plans for the Syrian economic order for the aftermath of Assad's regime. ( reported.[2]) The independent establishment of the Syrian economy by democratically legitimized forces does not figure into these plans. Last week's reports also explain that the planning being done in Berlin does not include civil warfare - "other groups" are handling that.[3] But the fact that delegates of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are in Berlin, participating in the elaboration of the plans, shows that intense discussions are taking place with selected militiamen. One otherwise learns that, according to the German-US-American plans, Islamist forces will play a decisive role in Syria's future.

Insurgent Militias

Numerous recent analyses provide new information on the rebels inside the country, shedding light on those forces Berlin and Washington want to impose their agenda on, in the aftermath of the anticipated overthrow of Assad's regime. For example, last week, Washington's Institute for the Study of War, published a research paper on the militia in the hills of Jebel al-Zawiyah, south of Idlib. The paper describes, how the armed bands, founded in the fall of 2011, had been able to use the period of the ceasefire in April and May, to regroup and refurbish their stockpiles of weapons. In late May, they successfully used the Hula Massacre - which was carried out, according to the research of several renowned journalists, by insurgents [4] - to restart their attacks on the armed forces. The analysis explicitly points out that the militia's arms build-up was financed by the Gulf dictatorships and, at least, coordinated by US forces.[5] The militias have even obtained anti-helicopter weapons. It has been exposed that one of the more influential militias "Suqur al Sham," ("Falcons of the Levant") pays its, approximately 1000 troops a monthly salary of US $25, while fighters with a family receive even more. Some of the units in currently embattled Aleppo are said to have subordinated themselves to Suqur al Sham's command.

Islamist State

According to one study, the political orientation of the more influential militias, such as Suqur al Sham, is of utmost importance, because, should the government fall, regional leadership will be recruited from among the local insurgents. In the case of Suqur al Sham, it should be considered that, although the militia pays lip service to recognizing the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the "main representative of the revolution abroad," it does not see it as an organization, whose orders must be followed. Suqur al Sham is, itself, Islamist oriented and strictly rejects having women participate in combat. According to reports, the commander of the militia has admitted wanting to transform Syria into a "moderate Islamic country." He is quoted to have said that the Syrian Muslims have lost "their honor," because they have given up the armed religious war and martyrdom out of fear for their lives [6] - a statement that goes over well in Islamist circles.

Special Car Bombs

However, the study emphasizes that Suqur al Sham "up to mid-July 2012" had carried out no suicidal attacks, which are characteristic of organizations attributed to the segments of militant Islamist ("al Qaeda") structures. According to the study, Suqur al Sham has always restricted itself to putting captives and suspected spies into cars secretly rigged with explosives. The explosives were set off by remote control, as soon as the car reached a Syrian military checkpoint, for example in the suburbs of Idlib.[7]

Against Iran

Serious consequences loom on the horizon, given the fact that Islamist forces are playing a prominent role, both locally and in German-US-American concepts, in spite of the obvious unwillingness of influential militias to accept having a western agenda imposed on their post-Assad Syria. Syria's Islamists will shift the equilibrium in the Arab world - further away from secular milieus, toward a religious conservative order that can get along well with the current leading political role played by the Gulf dictatorships in the Arab League. In addition, under Sunnite Islamist influence, Syria will abandon its alliance with Shiite-Islamist Iran, thereby, leaving Iran without any governmental allies in the Arab world. This exposes the background of the West's policy toward Syria, which is dependent upon the support of Islamist forces, to achieve its primary objective of a total isolation of Teheran, to block its geopolitical development at the Persian Gulf for a long time to come.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Syria can be found here: War Threats against Syria, Iran's Achilles Heel, War Scenarios for Syria, War Scenarios for Syria (II), With the UN toward Escalation, Market Economy for Syria, The Yemenite Solution and Smuggle Supervisors.

[1] Das neue Syrien kommt aus Wilmersdorf; 25.07.2012
[2] see also Market Economy for Syria
[3] Inside the quiet effort to plan for a post-Assad Syria; 20.07.2012
[4] see also The Yemenite Solution
[5], [6], [7] Asher Berman: Rebel Groups in Jebel al-Zawiyah; Institute for the Study of War, Backgrounder, 25.07.2012