Short dissertation on Syria

By | 09/06/2013

The situation in the Middle East? It’s simple, see; “The US hates Assad, Iran, Hamas, Al Qaeda and supports the Syrian Rebels, Saudi & Gulf and Israel. Israel supports Syrian Rebels and hates Hamas. Qatar supports Hamas, the Syrian Rebels and Muslim Brotherhood and hates Sisi and Assad. Iran supports Assad, Lebanon Shias and Hamas and hates Syrian Rebels. Russia hates Syrian Rebels and supports Assad. Al Qaeda hates Assad and Saudi & Gulf and supports Syrian Rebels. Turkey supports the Syrian Rebels and Muslim Brotherhood. *The US has no clue on Muslim Brotherhood nor Sisi* Sisi hates Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi & Gulf hate Muslim Brotherhood and supports Syrian Rebels and Lebanon Sunnis. Lebanon Sunnis support Syria rebels and hate Assad. Lebanon Shias support Assad and hate Syrian Rebels.” (inspired on KN Al-Sabah “A short guide to the Middle East” article)

Short dissertation on Syria

Seems like the US, France and Turkey are ready to start a military strike against Syria with or without the UK or even the UN support.

At its turn, the Syrian government has denied that it has used chemical weapons and Syrian officials have suggested that the opposition were behind any such attacks and that they were encouraged in this by Western powers. Syria’s key allies Russia
and Iran have also been highly critical of any intervention.

UN chemical weapons inspectors investigating the alleged attack in Ghouta were expected to leave Syria on 30 August and present their initial findings to the UN the following day. A fresh push is then expected to be made at the UN Security Council for a resolution authorising action, even though this will almost certainly be blocked by Russia and China.

The Syrian Arab Republic forms the United Arab Republic together with Egypt, and it is a Republic under an authoritarian regime. It acquired its Independence in 1946 from the League of Nations, ceasing to be a mandate under French administration.

Its chief of state is former President Bashar al-Asad, from the National Progressive Front or NPF, since 17 July 2000, and the head of government since 9 August 2012 is Prime Minister Wael al-Halq.

Along with those participating in the Public Administration, there are also many other political pressure groups such as the Free Syrian Army, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces or the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

They have state-run TV and radio broadcast networks, but roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts.

The current uprising has its roots in protests that erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on pro-reform demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets, demanding the President’s resignation. The scale of violence increased becoming a full-scale rebellion and the government used military force to crush dissent in Deraa, Homs (bombardment), Damascus and Aleppo in 2012.

The war on “who did what” began as well and segregation appeared along with sectarian tensions; Sunni majority vs. Alawi (Shiite) minority, government forces, pro-government Shabiha militiamen, pro-Assad Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon vs. the Free Syria Army created in July 2011, the opposition, different rebel groups; the UN, etc started attributing the killings to each other. Jihadist militants operating in Syria claimed most of the blasts (the Twin Damascus bombings in May 2012 was claimed by al-Nusra Front) or the UN report on the Houla massacre, but those are sometimes very difficult to assess in an independent verification.

Nonetheless, one thing is pretty clear; at the beginning of the present year, about two million people had been internally displaced or flooding into neighboring countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey).

The international response was heard in May 2011, when the EU imposed an arms embargo to restrict supplies of weapons used to crush protests. This didn’t stop the conflict to get worse, and foreign powers began giving logistical support to the new rebel groups, some of which captured some military bases. Meanwhile, Russia and Iran supplied heavier weapons to the government. In March 2013, France and the UK urged the EU to review the arms embargo.

The apparent use by the government of the chemical weapons makes no sense whatsoever; it is enough to spark international intervention, but not to achieve any useful military purpose. But, at that point, condemning the Syrian government – if the use of chemical weapons is proved- seems the logical response (the one that hold Iran or the US) and the desire to do something in Syria is understandable. Mr. Kerry has indeed set out a moral case for military action. But is so called “humanitarian intervention” justified? Is the use of chemical weapons a justification for war (remember Syria never joined the Chemical Weapons Convention)? Could it be a pretext? Why didn’t they react the same way when the citizens of Sardasht in Iran were killed with chemical bombs by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war? Will the launching of missiles persuade the opposition to get together or the government to capitulate?

Second question would be; if the US are so convinced about it, and already said they will not take into consideration the UN response, how is it that it has not started yet? Maybe President Obama is not that positive about it as Mr. Kerry seems to be, and the fact that this hard decision has to be taken during Labor Day weekend and that the majority of Americans oppose it makes things even worst. Or maybe it is due to the fact that Western powers would rather not take action before or during a two-day G20 leaders’ summit in Russia, scheduled to start on Thursday 5 September. Or maybe it is because of the threats that Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon had directed to Israel.

Syria has strong commercial links with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and also with Kuwait and Iran.

The relationship with its other neighbors, Israel, is, however, a rather “tense” one, having fought three major wars (and also being involved in the Lebanese Civil War). They also have boundary issues. In 1967, the southwestern area known as Golan Heights came under Israeli military occupation, a ceasefire line was created on 1973 and Syria tried to get them back in the Yom Kippur War, but in 1981 it was annexed to Israel unilaterally.

Nowadays, most regional players have taken strong, defensive military posture, placing assets on alert and re-positioning them along vulnerable border areas.

Qusayr was destroyed, Baba Amr destroyed, Homs was entirely destroyed. No-one cares. See how the refugees are living? Would you accept  your parents living the same way? The Syrian people refuse to be humiliated”. Those are Abu Sakkar words, the “cannibal rebel”, who commands his own battalion (Omar al-Farouq), which he rose with “his own” money and opposes President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The World does not have the option to ignore what is going on in Syria anymore.

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