In the Middle East 'moderation' is an oxymoron

The word Photo: Kerry: Moderates stronger in Syria (

CHARLOTTESeptember 6, 2013 — As Russian warships traverse the Bosphorus en route to the Middle East, congress and the Obama administration continue their foolhardy debate about a military strike in Syria.

With President Obama in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin branded Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony to congress as “lies” and “sad.” Putin has his own problems with the truth, but his verbal attacks did nothing to prevent Kerry from reiterating his deceptive testimony.

SEE RELATED: Does anyone really believe Assad used chemical weapons in Syria?

It is incomprehensible that 535 members of congress, many of whom have visited the Middle East themselves, could collectively be so generally uninformed about the Islamic world. More distressing is the fact that they are charged with making critical decisions about the region.

John Kerry maintained the position he took before Congress when he testified that “The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to some democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria.”

“Moderation” is the buzzword of the day. Kerry reinforced his argument by quoting Elizabeth O’Bagby, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, who wrote for Reuters that Islamic extremists are not “spearheading the fight against the Syrian government.”

Bagby went on to say the struggle is being led by “moderate opposition forces.”

SEE RELATED: Debate over Syria shows Americans’ growing distrust of US government

There’s that “moderate” word again.

Retired four-star Army general Jack Keane, who is Chairman of the Board for the Study of War Institute agrees with Bagby. He says that extremist factions among the rebels are limited and al Qaeda is virtually blocked in the north and west of Syria.

Moderate or extremist Syria (

That may be true, for the moment. History, on the other hand, refutes the arguments of Kerry, Keane and Bagby. It doesn’t matter if the rebels are “secular” and “moderate.” 

SEE RELATED: PICHT: Obama and Congress locked in a Syrian morality play

What Keane and Bagby are not saying is that the extremists in the north and west of Syria are strong and are in the process of establishing an Islamic mini-state. Meanwhile the so-called “moderate” rebels are diminishing their strength fighting against Assad.

Those who support Kerry insist that Syria is not the same as Iraq or Egypt or Libya or Afghanistan. That may also be true, but another truth nobody ever seems to grasp, regardless of how often it happens, is that when a government, a tyrant or a dictator is overthrown by “moderate” factions in the Middle East, they eventually yield to Islamic elements that institute sharia practices.

It has been that way since the seventh century and it has not changed.

Syrian traffic jam (

Democracy as we know it is a foreign concept in the Middle East that cannot conform to the tenets of Islam; it is counter to Islamic ideology. Western democratic philosophies do not mix with ancient tribal cultures because Islam cannot separate church and state.

The Pentagon estimates there are some 1,200 different Syrian rebel groups involved in the fighting. Are we to honestly believe there are no Islamists among them? In July, David Shedd of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado, “Left unchecked, I’m very concerned that the most radical elements will take over larger segments of the opposition groups.”

John Kerry can continue his tireless tirade about “moderate” rebels. The Obama administration can perpetuate its flimsy human rights mantra. Congress can debate ad nauseam just so they can hear themselves speak.

A little research will reveal a completely different perspective than the media show presents to the country. Anyone can study Islamic history in the comfort of their own home to obtain an accurate picture. You do not have to be privy to classified information presented by the secretary of state to see what should be glaringly obvious. Just thumb through the pages of the Koran. Read any number of books by respected authorities, many of whom are former Muslims, to be enlightened about Islam in ways that congress apparently is not.

If you want the truth, read the words of Robert Spencer in his book, “Not Peace but a Sword”: “There is no theological system in Islam, there is no sect, there is no group within Islam that has formulated a comeback, a construction of Islamic theology based on the Qur’an that makes a case to reject violence and supremacism and the subjugation of unbelievers.”

No matter how “secular” or “moderate” the factions in Syria are today, they will all change if the rebels ever gain control.

It is in their blood. Blood used to draw a “red line” in the sand.


Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (  

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at The Washington Times Communities

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from What in the World
blog comments powered by Disqus
Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


Contact Bob Taylor


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus