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Is Wahhabism out of fashion?

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April 12 · Issue #85 · View online
MENAroundup
MENAroundup
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq. lars@menaroundup.com

Notions
  • East-Ghouta is back under regime control. Jaysh al-Islam’s surrender officially ends the Assad-regime’s campaign that killed at least 1500 people within the last seven weeks. Now, thousands of rebels and their families are deported to northern Syria, many of them to the Euphrates Shield area. It will be interesting to see how the Turkish-led forces will integrate the new batch of fighters. 
  • Jaysh al-Islam’s surrender came a day after the latest chemical attack that targeted the rebel’s last stronghold Duma. There is no ultimate proof that the Assad regime is responsible for the attack. However, the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sarin, frequently. I wrote an article regarding the false-flag theories, you find the link below. 
  • After the attack, the US, UK and France threatened with retaliation. For hours it looked like a US strike was imminent. But Trump’s statements have become more moderate and it looks like negotiations, including Turkey, will prevent a military operation. So what’s left? US strikes are not off the table and no one knows what is going on behind closed doors. What is noteworthy is the international management of former US President Obama’s “red line”. That line wasn’t only a threat, it also gave the Assad regime and its allies green light to do anything that wasn’t related to chemical attacks. Crossing that line on a large scale provokes the reaction of Western powers that created that very line in order to not get involved too much in the first place. Therefore, what we see now is the contradictory situation that illustrates the Western power’s obliquity: Getting involved - but not too much. 
  • Another observation concerns a pattern that shaped the (armed) opposition’s calculus since the beginning of the unrest - and left them disappointed: After Trump’s threats appeared to be serious, various rebel groups asked for more support and launched small attacks. They hoped that the Western powers/international community would finally enforce the red lines they created and that the Assad regime ignored dozens, if not hundreds, of times. That is one of the reasons why many desperate Syrians joined radical groups since 2012: Because they are the ones who are not affiliated with outside powers.
Articles worth reading
Allerletzte rote Linie?
How the Assad Regime Tracked and Killed Marie Colvin for Reporting on War Crimes in Syria
Jihadist In-fighting and the Birth of Horas ad-Deen
Is Saudi Arabia Turning Against Wahhabism?
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