Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Al-Assad Family And Its Relationship With Sunnis, Shiites, Russians and Jews

Image result for religious map of syria

N.B. In the above map Alawites are mapped as Shia.

Dear F,

Thanks for your email.

Syria is a swamp and I have other places I'd rather spend my political "capital."

Even so, I am starting to wonder what behind-the-scenes role Israel might play in all this.

We know that Netanyahu - a bad actor if ever there was one - considers Iran "The Great Satan." 

We also know that Iran is a major backer of Assad as are Russia and China. (To what extent, if any, did Trump's recent volte-face on mid-East interventionism seek to divert attention from his "meeting with China" where another volte-face was taking place? Apparently, Trump did not mention Chinese currency manipulation nor tariffs on Chinese goods although these two populist "volcanos" erupted regularly during the campaign - Trump going out of his way to say China was "raping" the United States.)
In a Wikipedia article entitled "Iran-Syria Relations," the second sentence reads: "Syria is usually called Iran's "closest ally",[1]"

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard 'skeptical' that Assad regime behind gas attack

When Netanyahu wants something, I put nothing past that the sonofabitch. (Ferociously tribal people that Semitic language people are -- whether Jewish or Arab -- I have NO trouble conceiving ANY monstrosity perped to advance the interests of one mid-Eastern tribe over another.)

I am not sure if Netanyahu is reckless enough to risk a new Syrian regime that could be worse than the Assad-Iran-Russia axis, but I can easily imagine Bibi seduced by the prospect of getting rid of "known enemy Assad" in hopes that his replacement might be better, or, would at least become Uncle Sam's client state rather than a client state of Russia-Iran.

The situation becomes even more muddled when we review the history of Bashir al-Assad's father Hafez al-Assad, a military man who participated in two coups (1963 and 1966) before conducting his "own" coup in 1970, toppling the leader he helped install in 1966.

Then Hafez al-Assad "sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in return for support against Israel. While Hafez had forsaken pan-Arabism—or at least the pan-Arab concept of unifying the Arab world into one Arab nation—he did seek to make Syria the defender of Arab interest against Israel."

Apparently, Syrian people were quite fond of Hafez al-Assad for the better part of a decade until a mid-'70s' Islamic uprising took deep root in the city of Hama. 

After ongoing efforts to extinguish this rebellion, Hafez al-Assad finally waged an all-out attack on Hama in February, 1982, killing 20,000 residents in what was long considered (and may still be) the deadliest slaughter ever by an Arab leader of his own people.

The upshot?

"The (Hama) uprising made Syria more totalitarian than ever, and strengthened Assad's position as undisputed leader of Syria.[98]"

It must be pointed out that 74% of Syrians are Sunni, the same sect that predominates in Saudi Arabia - Iran's nemesis. 

However, the Assad family itself belongs to a secretive, enigmatic sect known as the Alawites which comprises 12% of Syria's population. In turn, the Alawites are a subset of Iran's predominant Shia sect.

Wikipedia: "Alawites have historically kept their beliefs secret from outsiders and non-initiated Alawites, so rumours about them have arisen. Arabic accounts of their beliefs tend to be partisan (either positively or negatively).[14] However, since the early 2000s, Western scholarship on the Alawite religion has made significant advances.[15] At the core of Alawite belief is a divine triad, comprising three aspects of the one God. These aspects or emanations appear cyclically in human form throughout history. The last emanations of the divine triad, according to Alawite belief, were as Ali, Muhammad and Salman the Persian. Alawites were historically persecuted for these beliefs by the Sunni Muslim rulers of the area."

So... There is good reason to believe that the people of Hama and other non-Alawite Sunni sympathizers (largely excluded from the Assad family's Alawite government) would feel hostile to Assad, especially after the Hama slaughter in 1982.

Nor is it hard for me to believe that a religious minority of only 12% could inspire as much hostility as American blacks (who also comprise about 12% of the U.S. population) were they to occupy an ongoing position of nepotistic power.

In any event, the common thread in all this is that the al-Assad family has been fist-in-glove with Iran's Shiite Muslims, an alliance that has pitted both --- ferociously --- against Israel.

Once again we see how two groups of ethnically-divergent Semitic speakers have "good" reasons to see each other as mortal enemies. 

Therein lies the rub.

And therein lies my inability to become particularly lathered over one faction - or another - since, in my view, they are all fucked.

Yes, some are more fucked that others - most notably the Palestinians. 

But the Kurds also take it in the ass.

And the Yezidis.

To the extent that ethnicities and religions are routinely at one another's throats, my working hypothesis is that Syrian Sunnis are antipathetic to Alawite Assads.

It's "the way of the world." 

The Essence of Religious Fanaticism
(Emo Philips cuts to the quick of religious mania)

As fond as I am of dark-skinned peoples, I would not want to be governed by a black family (or a Christian fundamentalist family) which seized power by military coup 50 years ago. 

And I'm a guy who -- with the exception of Sunday band practice -- routinely spends more time with Mexicans than white people.

It is not accident that I call my blog "Pax On Both Houses" for there is oodles of blame to go around, especially when it comes to ruling class autocrats, oligarchs and plutocrats.


Hey! America! How Did Regime Change Work Out? | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 11:01 PM, FV wrote:

Dear A

DT reacts to a television spot, his ratings go up, he thinks he's found the key to turn his popularity around, he likes it.

He didn't notice the babies killed in 2013. He won't give the babies refuge despite the fact that not one refugee ever perpetrated a terrorist attack. 

So my question is what's next, more missiles into Syria. How about a little a little hit in N. Korea. Maybe bring Iran back into the equation. 

After all he is all about the ratings. It's what he lives for. 
John, Lindsay and Marco suddenly think he's turned the corner to the reality of his new position and now he's Mr. Wonderful. 
All I can hope is he returns to his tweet world of the absurd.

Or did Vlad orchestrate the whole thing to tone down his love affair with DT.



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