When I read details of what is going on in Syria, it breaks my heart. I wonder about the heartlessness of a regime that drops barrel bombs filed with shrapnel, on crowded places. I wonder about the calculated cruelty, the so-called “strategic necessity” of supporting one side against another, that the US practices. Continue reading
What is going on in Syria is not a “War”, nor a “Civil War”, it is a game being played by the major powers, principally the US and Israel, where the goal is to weaken the Shia and Sunni participants and perhaps, get an opening to deal a death-blow to Hizbollah. The willing players in this game, are the Shia and Sunni Syrians who are being goaded into an unbridgeable sectarian war with each other. Ultimately, the winners will be the Western powers and the losers will be everyone in Syria, plus Hizbollah in Lebanon.
When Hafez Al-Assad died in June 2000 and his son Bashar Al Assad took over, there was a brief period of hope that this British-trained Ophthalmologist would bring some freedom to the country and maybe a degree of democracy. After all, Bashar was a reluctant heir-apparent because it was his older brother Bassel, who was being groomed to take over, not him.
Bashar did bring in a little liberalization here and there, but people who held high hopes for the introduction of democracy and freedom in Syria were doomed to be disappointed. Things got tighter and tighter until March of 2011, when the people of Syria started a popular movement for the end of Assad rule and for a popular government rule in Syria. The movement was generally peaceful in the beginning, with people from all sects and religions participating against the Assad regime, but the regime successfully divided the people using fear of the “other” to gain greater support. At first, Bashar’s government sought support from their own sect, the Alawites of Syria. The government took advantage of the fact that about 70% of Syrians were Sunni while the country was ruled by the tiny Alawite Sect which is closer to Shia. The government portrayed the opposition as being close-minded Sunnis who would exact revenge on the Alawites for the tyrannical rule of the Alawite Assad family; it was a persuasive argument and the tiny Alawite minority felt they had no choice but to support Assad. The government’s next step was to approach the Christians and other minority sects who were struggling to remain neutral and tell them that an intolerant, pro-Saudi government can only bring brutal oppression on them. Continue reading