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Will life in Syria turn even nastier and more brutal?

Will life in Syria turn even nastier and more brutal?

Mideast Media Sampler 08/23/2013

The big news Wednesday was the reported chemical attack on the eastern outskirts of Damascus that may have killed more than 1000 people.

While a number of experts have expressed doubts about the details of the accounts of the attack, international opinion is coalescing that there was indeed a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the government of Bashar Assad against rebel strongholds.

Internationally, it is France that is leading the call for intervention.

As Western powers pressed Syria to allow United Nations inspectors to examine the site of a possible poison gas attack outside the capital, Damascus, France said on Thursday that outside powers should respond “with force” if the use of chemical weapons was confirmed.

However noble the sentiment, France’s foreign minister ruled out sending in ground troops. And yesterday’s emergency Security Council meeting was unable to force an investigation due to vetoes of China and Russia. In other words, while there are UN inspectors investigating previous suspected chemical attacks, they will likely not be allowed to Damascus to check out the latest ones while the evidence is still fresh.

The editors of the Washington Post call on the United States to investigate the current incidents but fault President Obama for his tentative approach to Syria to date:

Two months later, even the small supplies of weapons promised by the president have yet to be delivered. And the regime, which has been battling to consolidate control over a strip of Syria extending from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast, may have been emboldened. Mr. Assad logically could have concluded that he had little to fear from the United States, even if chemical weapons use were escalated.

Jeffrey Goldberg and Walter Russell Mead have made similar observations.

Assuming that Bashar Assad apparently now thinks that he can act with impunity to consolidate his hold on Syria, what is the future Syria going to look like?

Andrew Tabler writes in The Day After Assad Wins:

Of course, if Assad manages to stay in power, his level of control over the country will never again be what it was before the war. In part, that is because his government’s geographic reach will be curtailed: Parts of the country (particularly in the northwest and along the Euphrates River) will remain under the control of the Syrian opposition — including organized terror groups — even if they have given up the immediate goal of toppling the Assad regime.

Even in those areas where Assad maintains control, his authority will be greatly diminished. He has waged all-out war against his own country, resorting to the use of Scud missiles and chemical agents against civilian populations. Those tactics may have helped him stay in power, but they will also cost him every last shred of popular legitimacy.

In turn, Assad will increasingly resort to brute force to demonstrate his authority to Syrians. His postwar reign of terror will likely target the majority Sunni population that has directed the uprising against him. The formerly “liberated” areas of Syria will probably have the most to fear. If the regime makes an effort to retake these areas, even temporarily, it is easy to imagine thousands of Sunnis being rounded up and subjected to the nation’s archipelago of prisons and torture chambers. And that will likely lead to waves of refugees fleeing for safety to other opposition-controlled areas in Syria or to neighboring countries.

Additionally, Tabler speculates that areas of Syria not under Assad’s control will likely be controlled by Sunni Jihadist groups, like the one that reportedly fired four rockets into Israel Thursday. The Sunni Jihadist groups, in contrast to Assad, have been engaging in image improving efforts to boost their popular support.

Wednesday’s events could mark the beginning of a much worse future for Syria.

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Comments

“What difference does it make?”

While it may be difficult to fathom that life in a brutal, tyrannical dictatorship can get worse. It is a maxim of life that “Things can always get worse.”

I am beginning to feel as if Middle Eastern culture depends upon violence and/or “Counting Coup” and if it does not change to accept a more western-like tolerance for dissent, that it will only get more brutal and nasty for decades to come.

As long as they’re busy killing each other maybe they’ll leave us alone. I have no doubt any regime change will result in one as nasty as the one they have now. It’s ultimately about their religion, not politics. They will trade one type of oppression for another.

Based on actual results, Amnerican leaning despots have traditionally been the best we’ve been able to get in the Middle East see for example Egypt with Mubarak or Iran with the Shah.

Islamists tend to make things worse as we can see in both of those examples.

Of course non-American aligned despots are more of an open question. Saddam Hussein, being a Soviet aligned despot was brutual as is Assad.

Had Obama been smart he could have pressured Mubarak, for example, to take the heavy hand off of western aligned opponents while giving him a free hand to crush the Islamists.

Essentially, give him another 5-10 years in return for letting Egpyt cultivate at least some democratic sentiment in the country.

It looks like Egypt though will just return to what it had before under Mubarak…

Syria though we have little leverage. The best we can hope for is the two sides to bleed each other into irrelevance.

Mr. Gerstman asks, “will life in Syria turn even nastier and more brutal?”

To which I reply: is that a trick question?

Syria is at the fault line of the thousand year old war between Sunnis and Shi’a. It’s also at the fault line of the four-millenia old war between the Occident and the Orient. It is not clear to me that any of our current Western leaders understand this, which means we impose our own rose-colored views on the situation. We will end up making wrong decisions precisely because we don’t understand why this war is occurring.

It is a war between two belief systems. There is not 1 in 100 Americans who knows the difference between Sunni and Shi’a, but rest assured the participants in this war do. They know their tribe, their particular faith, and the Other. Their history has been one of defending themselves and taking from the other side. There is little in the way of national identity, and political-social beliefs are just a surrogate for religious and tribal identity.

Bashir ‘Pencilneck’ Assad is an Alawite, which to say a semi-Shi’a, which to a Sunni is an apostate. Iran supports him because he is Alawite and because they need allies in the region. Pencilneck and his father have used the Ba’ath party (again, political-social) to impose the rule of their faith and clan on the majority Sunnis. The Sunnis have fought back several times, and now they’re fighting with the help of al-Nusra (al-Qaeda branch) which is Salafist and Islamicist in its beliefs.

It’s just another iteration in a long, long war.

It is not surprising then in the least that Pencilneck has used chemical weapons. He has them, he needs them, he uses them. He’ll do whatever it takes to preserve his rule and his side.

How many of our leaders understand that background? I bet very few, and I bet President Obama is not one of them. If he did he’d know that injecting the West into this simply turns the war into another iteration of the millennial fight between West and East, between Occident and Orient. The war will become just another version of the Crusades minus the flag with the red crosses billowing in the wind. It will certainly be seen as a crusade, and our soldiers seen as crusaders, by the residents of Syria should it get to that point.

Stay out of this fight. STAY OUT. We can’t fix it, we can’t end it, and it’s hubris to think that we, the United States, by virtue of our own belief system, somehow can fix what the world hasn’t fixed in ages.

There are fights we can win (WWII) and must win (Cold War). There are fights worth fighting (Afghanistan 2002). There are fights worth trying (Iraq). Syria is not any of these. And we most especially can’t win it with the feckless leadership class currently employed in Washington, Paris, Berlin and London.

France wants to intervene? Let them. I’ll sit back, amused, and watch them try. How will they get their troops to Latakia — by ferry? Perhaps they’ll try to make the Chicken of the Sea Charles de Gaulle swim. The French have little ability to intervene on their own — Syria isn’t Mali. The Europeans as a whole can’t put forward a respectable military force that could sustain operations in Syria.

So you know what that will mean — France the Euros will come to Uncle Sugar for help. We’ll get sucked into a fight that we don’t understand and can’t win.

STAY OUT.

Henry Hawkins | August 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

Looks like we’ve found Saddam Hussein’s WMDs.

Nits turn into lice and a peaceful islamist is a dead one. Hey, good shooting!

And for those of you upset by these comments, well, just consider these deaths ‘honor killings’ and accept it as a form of multi-cultural diversity. Not many complaints or protests against honor killings by progressives, are there now.

To paraphrase Obama,

” these kids could be my sons, if I had any. They too, grew up without a father.”

Remember what happened to Homs under Assad’s father. There’s no reason to believe that the Syrian government won’t simply do ethnic cleansing in the rest of Syria. They did it in the Balkans, Saddam used chemical weapons for years against all kinds of minority groups.

So – why would Assad continue a long ground war, when he can simply gas one village after another, until his opposition is either dead or fled? And in 5 years, Syria could be 100% under his control. Just with a lot smaller population.

Nobody in the UN will stop it, France and the rest of Europe are not militarily capable of stopping it. The only country that could stop it is the USA, and the Obama administration has chosen not to.

I recall Stalin’s solution for Jews: “One third will leave, one third will die, one third will convert”.

I sincerely hope it turns much nastier. The more muzzies killed by other muzzies the fewer will remain to attack us.

Have at it boys. I hope you all die.

How convenient.

America’s General Dempsey, who is in a bunker dug deep in Jordan’s country, has mastermined a plan where Jordanians have supplied the soldiers. America has paid for training these 3000. And, the plan is to cut out the southern bottom of syria, to form a rebel NATION. Assad’s Syria is designed, through this plan, to be of smaller size.

Obama sez there will be no American boots on the ground.

And, a “no fly” zone will be put in place over syria. But using Jordan’s “well trained” troops.

It started!

The day chemical weapons were tossed into Da-aaa (sp?) General Dempsey put about 700 of his trained Jordanian soldiers into play. They’re probably filling the body bags you saw. Because you saw a very large number of males. In the age group of (soldier). And, yes. Since these soldiers were inside a civilian area … you also got a few babies.

At the UN both France and the USA lit up like Christmas trees! They thought they’d shift their fight over there. When both Russia and China blocked this move.

The next move? General Dempsey’s.

But the little hashimite king in Jordan may get cold feet? We won’t know until we see something else.

Assad didn’t really throw anything at Israel. (He very carefully placed his response to General Dempsey, though.)

And, besides Jordan’s king … is Obama dithering?

In May, when Israel had blown up a missile base near Damascus, the viral video of this hit REDDIT within minutes.

At Reddit I always saw syrian civilians commenting there. And, then, Assad cut the “in and out” Internet links. And, Syria’s been dark ever since.

Of course, we now know that the FIVE EYES countries: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, have a compact to share data with the NSA.

Syria’s not supplying information because they basically don’t have Internet services available.

How did the video get out? My guess is that it’s carried out on thumb drives. And, this is then inserted somewhere in Lebanon. For worldwide viewing.

Again, until you KNOW what General Dempsey is doing … you should be very afraid he can do AN ACT OF WAR … and not get called on it. Yet.

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