Monday, February 06, 2012

The Real Story On Syria, And Why It Matters

By now, most of you are familiar with the revolt currently going on against the Assad regime in Syria, which is being suppressed with great brutality. Literally thousands have been killed by Assad's forces, beefed up with Hezbollah fighters from next door Lebanon.

Recently, a UN Security Council resolution backed by the Arab League that condemned the violence and called for Syrian leader Basher Assad to step down was vetoed by Russia and China after U.S. and European officials rejected a series of Russian amendments to the draft resolution that US UN Ambassador Susan Rice said were "unacceptable."

The Russians and Chinese vetoed a similar resolution back in October that left open the option of UN sanctions against Syria.

Today, Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa against Russia and China on his al-Jazeera show after the veto, calling them 'enemies of the Arab people'.

That alone will probably give regular members of Joshua's Army a clue as to the real story, but let's break down what this all means.

Syria has always had a thuggish, violent regime even before Basher's father Hafez al-Assad took over. Throughout all the occupation of Lebanon by the Syrian Army and the brutal murders of Lebanese politicians, journalists and public figures, the Arab League never uttered a peep and the UN was its usual ineffectual self. The same thing occurred when Syria openly violated UN Resolution 1701 and rearmed Hezbollah. So why all the angst now?

The Middle East is basically in the process of dividing into some distinct spheres of influence. Thanks to our intervention in Iraq, a Shi'ite bloc consisting of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon is forming up and a Sunni bloc is coalescing consisting of Libya, Egypt, Gaza and whatever areas in Judea and Samaria the 'Palestinians' end up occupying which will likely end up being ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, with the possible addition of Jordan. The Saudis, Qatar,Bahrain, Oman and the Emirates will likely retain their close ties to each other as Sunni oligarchies situated between the two.

Syria is where the spheres of influence meet.

Basher Assad and many of the regime loyalists are members of the minority Alawite sect, a Shi'ite offshoot. The rebel groups like the Syrian Free Army are almost exclusively Sunni and mostly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

That's the real back story in Syria you're not hearing, and depending on whom prevails, Syria will either remain part of the Shi'ite bloc dominated by Iran or become part of the Muslim Brotherhood Sunni bloc.

That's why the Arab League is so exercised and why Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Qaradawi issued a fatwa, in the hopes of fomenting unrest among the largely Sunni Muslims in Russia and Western China and more to the point, encouraging Sunni fighters from other countries to launch a jihad and provide a veneer of religious justification for any brutalities meted out to Assad's forces or even Alawite civilians.

This is standard Muslim practice. Before the Pakistani Army went into what's now Bangladesh back in the 1970's and committed what amounted to genocide and mass rape of the civilian Bengali Muslim population, they had their mullahs pronounce fatwas naming the Bengalis as 'kuffars' (non-believers)to legitimize the Pakistani atrocities against them.

Based on what I've seen of Assad's forces in action versus the rebels, if there is no outside help from the West - and there likely won't be, seeing as Syria has no oil - I'd cautiously put my money on Assad if I were betting. Syria is a key link between Iran and its colony in Hezbollah-ruled Lebanon and the Iranians are going to do whatever it takes to try to keep it in friendly hands.

So will the Russians, for that matter.Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov made a quick trip to Syria to meet with representatives with the Assad regime,an important export market and buyer of Russian weaponry as well as the source of an important Mediterranean port for the Russian Navy at Tartus. The message he likely gave to Assad was to wrap this up as quickly as possible so as to avoid the embarrassment to the Russians of another UN veto, along with tying up a few loose ends on the latest Syrian arms shipments from Russia.


Anonymous said...

Other good analyses at Sultan Knish, Caroline Glick, & J.E. Dyer.
The Obama administration knew very well that Russia & China would veto at the UN. So, pushing for a vote was only for show.
Another point, the Arabs use the West, primarily America, to fight their wars. Saudi Arabia runs American foreign policy.
Last point, Assad cannot survive unless as a war-lord of either Damascus or more likely, the Alawite region. Syria will break up into ethnic enclaves all fighting each other, each ethnic group supported by the various neighbors.
I would also mention that it is a very stupid, stupid, stupid idea to allow the UN to decide regime change anywhere, and, in this, the Russians are right.

Terry, Eilat - Israel

louielouie said...

what would rosey say?
the UN sucks?

one of the things i think will be interesting is the issuing of fatwas for russia and china.
whole countries?
neither of these countries have shown timidity when dealing with ra....., ra......, ra......., islamist radicals.
i envy their leadership in this manner.
some details don't get out of china for weeks after the event occurs. they may sow fomenting/discord in their respective regions. they may get their heads shoved up their respective asses as well.

B.Poster said...

"I envy their leadership in this manner..." I could not agree more!! The Russians and Chinese have been the most successful countries in the early 21st century. America's leaders would do well to study these countries and try to implement what we can that these countries are doing. If you want to be the best, study the best!!

Now with that said that does not mean we should or even that we could implement every thing these countries are doing. Some things they do simply would not work for us nor would it be desirable for us to try.

If they are really serious about following up with fatwas against Russia and China, this is not going to have a good ending for them. The Russians and Chinese will crush them. Fighting the Americans is easy by comparison. The Islamists may have just over reached. Of cours the fatwas might just be for show. Nevertheless I'd expect the Russians to take it seriously.

I'm not sure why one would "cautiously" be on the Syrian regime to prevail. I would think Assad would win easily. Why hasn't he been able to win this thing before now? Especially with Russian and Chinese backing. Whose funding and directing this uprising? The media and US officials would do well to try and answer this question.

The meeting between the Russians and the Syrians was probably for the Russians to assure Syria that they will receive full backing from them should they need it. Neither Iran nor their Russian controllers wish to see Syria fall. As such, Russia will go to the mat to protect the Assad government. China might as well.

The US and the "west" likely should not get involved militarily or in any way with this. This runs the risk of a military confrontation with Russia, China, or both of them. Such a confrontation is inadvisable. We cannot afford it, and we do not have the man power or equipment that is in good enough condition to be able to carry out such a mission without severely compromising the main purpose of the military which is to defend America.

Furhtermore its very unlikely we could win a military confrontation with Russia or China right now. Its long past time for America's leaders to face facts as they are and not what they wish them to be and act accordingly.