Syrian Islamists declare independence

Monday, November 26, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Just as with Egypt, Syria's "Arab Spring" revolution is looking as though it will end with the creation of a new Islamic state.

On Monday, the more radical of the Islamist factions taking part in Syria's civil war posted a video online in which they declared the northern city of Aleppo to be independent from the regime in Damascus.

"We are the representatives of the fighting formations in Aleppo and we declare our rejection of the conspiratorial project, the so-called national alliance," said the rebels, referring to the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition.

"We have unanimously agreed to urgently establish an Islamic state," the video concluded.

The rebels fear that just as in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, Western powers are trying to use the Arab Spring to turn Syria into a Western-style democracy that is in line with American and European interests.

But, just as in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, the West initially underestimated the influence of Islamist groups in Syria and the major role they are playing in the battle against the current dictator.

Across the border in Israel, the concern is that, again like Egypt, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad will simply be replaced by a more radical Islamist ruler.

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