Syria, the touts say, will collapse before the US presidential elections. Sanctions against the Assad regime are working, arms are flowing in to encourage resistance to attacks of the Syrian army, and the dominos of internal collapse will fall into place.
Will this scenario work itself out so neatly? Most likely not. What might have is what happened to the collapse of Yugoslavia. Syria will split off into various religious and tribal factions, each fighting the other in a kaleidoscope of alliances that come together and end like a brief half life of an atom. Lebanon comes to mind, and more recently, the endless feuding in a ‘democratic’ Iraq that a dumb US war has bequeathed to the country’s Kurds, Shi’a, and Sunni.
Balkanisation of the Middle East suits the US and its client and ally Israel, it goes without saying.
And yet, the collapse and possible disintegration of Syria brings to the fore more regional confrontation among the Iranians, Saudi, the Egyptians, and the Turks, all vying for a place, if not a duel, in the sun.
China and Russia are wiser in evaluating the costs: they vetoed the US and Arab League resolution in the UN Security Council, to delay foreign intervention or a foreign war with Syrian opposition proxies, in favour of negotiations and easing out Assad. They got ‘spit on’ for their efforts.
More likely the military will dump Assad and Alouite control of the country will continue with minor accommodations to Sunni and Shi’a demands.
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