Syria: The lynchpin to breaking the Shiite Crescent
by Alon Ben-Meir* 22 February 2012 / ,
Seldom has the dividing line between the forces of moderation and the forces of extremism been so clear in the Middle East.
The anti-West, Iran-led Shiite Crescent, consisting of Iraq (largely operating at Iran’s behest), Syria and Lebanon, heavily subsidized by Tehran with political capital and financial resources for the past three decades, is now under serious threat of collapse thanks to the crack in its most critical link: Syria’s Assad regime. On the other hand, the human tragedy in Syria has created a rare common interest between the old and the new Arab regimes, Turkey, the US and the EU for the potential emergence of a representative government in Damascus.
Nonetheless, while Iran, Russia and China are doing their utmost to prevent the fall of Assad, the international and regional forces of moderation have yet to rise up to the challenge. Unless this loose alliance of moderate forces closes ranks and embarks on a decisive effort to break the Shiite Crescent, the Syrian people will be left alone to face a continuing massacre and will miss a historic opportunity to join a new, peaceful and potentially more democratically oriented Middle East. Turkey especially stands to affect and gain from a more vigorous involvement of the forces of moderation......