Terrorist armies in Syria 'a big threat'
Manama, December 8, 2013
By Greg Fountain
Terrorist armies are massing inside Syria's borders and could soon wreak havoc across the region, Iraq's Foreign Minister warned yesterday.
Hoshyar Zebari also highlighted the deepening sectarian divide within the war-torn state, which he said could spread across the Middle East if left unchecked, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"This conflict on our doorstep will definitely have a devastating impact," he said on the first full day of the Manama Dialogue security summit.
The three-day summit, organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
"We are already suffering a great deal from the spill-over of this conflict on our borders," Zebari said. "The most important danger coming out from the Syrian conflict for Iraq and the region is the mushrooming of terrorist groups in Syria.
"We are not talking about hundreds, or a few individuals, we are talking about thousands.
"These are armies of recruits of international dimensions, they are not just Syrians.
"They are Europeans, some have come from as far as Australia - this is really toxic.
"The day will come when we have another Islamic emirate outside of international control."
Zebari said the international community's military inaction over the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons had also created a new world order. "When Assad used chemical weapons and there was no action there was a great deal of frustration that we were now living in a new world, a different world, where such actions go unpunished," he said.
"Who could have imagined five or six years ago that a regime would use chemical weapons and we would stand by?"
Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah agreed with Zebari that "the international community failed to carry out its duties towards the protection of the people of Syria," but said the solution should come from the region itself.
"Our world has witnessed numerous changes and conflicts and our region is still undergoing a number of wars and revolutions that have extended to include international dimensions," he said.
"The lesson learnt following these events is that the approach of using military force will not lead to the solutions needed to achieve security and stability.
"We must promote the concept of security through a political process that will involve all the parties in the region.
"If the cause of the problem emanated from the region, then the solutions should also come from the region." However, Zebari noted that a regional solution to the conflict had already been attempted and faltered.
"We tried to have an Arab peace initiative to try and resolve this crisis," he said. "We had some initial success but then that initiative died down." - TradeArabia News Service