Middle Eastern politics are strange, as a rule, and the latest developments are on the strange side.
Mohammed al-Megarif, the interim president of Libya, visited Tunisia, promising a sizable amount of aid. And both al-Megarif and Tunisia’s president expressed opposition to arming the Syrian rebels and delayed recognizing the new Syrian opposition coalition assembled by the Obama Administration, the EU and Qatar.
President Mohammed al-Megarif and his Libyan counterpart are Islamists, though al-Megarif soft pedals that part of his resume. It’s understandable why al-Megarif would funnel Libyan money into Tunisia to support the ruling Islamists there. And it’s also understandable why both Islamist rulers might reject the new Syrian opposition coalition, which is Islamist, but not Islamist enough for the Jihadists in Syria.
But why express opposition to arming the Syrian rebels in general, except as a negotiating tactic for remaking the Syrian coalition more to their liking?
Among other things this is a blow to the Obama Administration’s efforts to set up a legitimized Syrian opposition council.