Skip to comments.Alawite fortress (with artillery units in the middle) and Sunni wasteland in Syria’s Homs
Posted on 06/21/2012 11:55:21 AM PDT by Zhang Fei
The view from the rooftops makes the balance of power clear. In some neighbourhoods, cars and people scurry about. In others, only the scarred shells of empty homes remain.
After months of fierce military assaults and rebel ambushes in Homs, the centre of Syrias 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has effectively become two cities.
Along the scorched and crumbling skyline is a well-preserved archipelago of districts, home to Syrias minority Alawite sect, the offshoot of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs.
Alawites have mostly sided with Assad and have barricaded themselves in Homs protected by the Syrian army that has now made their neighbourhoods a second home.
The government has pushed for the appearance of normality in the midst of chaos. Homs Baath University reopened last week after a long closure. For the first time in months, Sunni and Alawite classmates were placed under the same roof.
But the division is as palpable here as in their fractured city. Sunni and Alawite students stick to their own sides, sitting on opposite ends of cafeterias and a campus yard overshadowed by a massive stone statue of former president Hafez al-Assad, Bashars father who ruled for nearly 30 years.
I used to have a lot of Alawite friends, but now we dont greet each other. There is nothing more to say, says Ahmad, a 22-year old Sunni engineering student. But Im not afraid, it cant get any uglier than this.
Across the yard, fellow engineering student Hassan, an Alawite, fears the worst is yet to come.
Even my cousins are shabbiha now. I hate that. Neither side deserves power here, he sighs.
Hassan never says he thinks Assad may be toppled, but he believes the future will not be kind to Alawites.
The slaughter is coming to us.
(Excerpt) Read more at euronews.com ...
While I really like Assads long neck I think the strategy is to side with the side that has the strongest chance of winning and that would be the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a realist foreign policy at work.
If the Muslim Brotherhood wins in Syria, they then march on Jordan and the Gulf States. Epic loss for the US.
Realism is supporting the lesser of two evils. Idealism is saying "a pox on both your houses", standing aside and letting the bigger threat win, even if that is against our interests. Realism is why we sided with the Soviets against the Nazis. It is also why we sided with the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets, even though only one of the sides was a product of the European Enlightenment. At best, the policy you've described is of idealism, and at worst it is one of appeasement, which is why ostrich-cons (i.e. people like Pat Buchanan who believe that the consolidation of East Asia under Imperial Japanese rule and of Europe under Nazi rule was no threat to American security) have, along with liberals, attempted to beautify it by redefining realism to mean appeasement.
I'm having a difficult time seeing this as a bad thing. If they're busy wasting each other then they aren't causing mischief elsewhere on behalf of the Iranians. Nobody that has the potential to come out on top in this cesspool of a country is going to be a friend of ours anyways. I say we sit back, pass the popcorn and enjoy the show.
The 1b Sunni population is a bigger threat than the Iranians will ever be. The Sunni world already has the nuke - Pakistan is not only a nuclear power, it is a major terrorist sponsor and arguably the hidden hand behind the 9/11 attacks. The fact that Pakistan felt comfortable enough with its position (through a quasi-mutual defense treaty with China for which the Chinese made one exception - Uncle Sam's demand for access to Afghanistan after 9/11) to back a terrorist attack potentially killing 100K people stateside (although it only killed 3K) is a pretty scary indicator of the kind of loose cannons these people are.
A victory for the Islamists currently fighting for power in Syria brings to the fore the possibility of the reconstitution of Muhammad's empire under one ruler all the way from North Africa through the Levant and the Gulf states. It's not for nothing that these Islamists style themselves the Ikhwan (the Brethren or the Companions), after the warriors who accompanied Muhammad in what he hoped would be the conquest of the world. And the crummy thing is that it's potentially not war that will bring this about - it's democracy imposed by NATO military intervention.
The problem with the Islamic world isn't bad rulers - it's a troglodyte population. What they need is a non-troglodyte electorate. Short of a Muhammad-style conquest by a foreign power and mass executions of millions of devout believers accompanied by a renounce Islam-or-die policy, it's hard to see how the Middle Eastern populace will self-moderate.
I say we nuke that black rock they dance around, then Medina, then Qom. The we ask who else wants some.
We supported unpopular regimes throughout the Cold War with few complications. Note that we did not prop them up - they were self-sufficient in the way that all regimes that come to power on their own are self-sufficient. What we offered to them was solidarity - the pledge to not interfere with them in the way the Soviets and the Chinese were doing by funding, training and equipping Communist rebel movements. If we had embargoed right-wing dictatorships for human rights violations (which was an issue ginned up in the 70's by Carter) even while the Comintern was spending billions on raising indigenous communist troops to fight them, they would have fallen. But in all other respects, they were independent actors fully capable of suppressing internal insurrections.
As to your second point, anti-regime unrest only became a problem when we decided to support the troglodyte protestors. If we had stood aloof while giving the regimes the green light to crush the protestors, as we routinely did during the Cold War, the Arab Spring would have been strangled in its cradle. The problem is that we have been overly beholden to neo-cons, whose motto is that inside every foreigner is an American struggling to get out. Their cultural and religious traditions and accumulated prejudices don't matter - all are blank slates waiting for enlightened Western advisers to write on. If only...
Note also that objectively speaking, the dictatorships aligned with us are far less oppressive than the ones aligned with China and the Russians. We have Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Azerbaijan. The Chinese have North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe.