Syrian Rebels Attack Christian Village in Syria

Christians in Syria have enjoyed relative tolerance under the Assad regime. My questions earlier were Who are the rebels and Why is our government willing to go to war to help them win? Do we really want them to win?

I still don’t know the answers to those questions.

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  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Who are the rebels? You just have to look at events with a little knowledge of the place, then the answer becomes obvious. A bit more than a year ago, I had this to say about it (http://fpb.livejournal.com/623423.html )

    The normal kind of popular revolt is like a fire: either it catches on quickly, building up a power with which the government has to deal or fight a civil war, or else it collapses as swiftly as it has arisen, like a great wave breaking against an unbroken cliff. A few years ago, a genuine popular and political revolt in Iran was ruthlessly suppressed by its monstrous rulers, and today we hear nothing more of it. Conversely, all successful revolutions and civil wars – whether we approve of their cause or not – have their origin in sudden, swift ground-level mass movements. Think of the rise of the Confederate States of America in a matter of weeks, or of the speed with which almost half of Spain fell or went over to the revolted army at the start of what became the Spanish Civil War.

    The Syrian protest movement did not correspond to this pattern at all. Hammered time and again by vicious government thugs, the protest demonstrations did not, as they had in Iran, die away among grief and murder, nor did anyone go underground. To the contrary, the movement kept stubbornly filling the streets over weeks, over months, growing all the time ever more violent and ever more like a budding civil war. And one detail ought to have told anyone who knew anything about Islam exactly what was going on: the protests always reached their pitch on Friday – the day in which the mosque-going public pours on the streets after having heard and inwardly digested the mosque preaching.

    In other words, the revolt was being pushed and manipulated from the mosques. And not just one or two mosques: hundreds of imams, in dozen upon dozen of mosques, must have been preaching similarly inflammatory sermons week after week, sending their hearers back in the streets over and over again regardless of government violence, deliberately ratcheting up the number of victims. They must have seen the violence increasing, government brutality worsening, week after week; and the evidence of facts shows that this neither troubled nor slowed them. Friday after Friday, the mobs took to the streets. At the back of this popular movement there is a conspiracy of preachers; and the one thing I don’t understand is why the Syrian government, which has otherwise proved totally devoid of any kind of scruple whatsoever, did not round up a number of them and make examples of them in its own inimitable way, while it was busy butchering women and children.

    This is not a political movement, at least not in the Western sense. It is a religious movement. While some claims may have been Baathist (Syrian government) scare stories, reliable sources such as the Barnabas Fund inform us that Christians are being persecuted and abused in the “liberated” areas, and the Maronite Patriarch has enraged Sarkozy and the rest of the Western know-nothings by telling them plainly that the fall of Baath is something the local Christians dread, and that they will be reduced to the same condition as their Iraqi brothers. Indeed, that is why the Syrian government is fighting such a savage and underhanded war, deliberately risking the wrath of world powers, rather than looking for any agreement. The ruling class in Syria belongs to the Alevi or Alawi religion, which has a very thin and phantom claim (not recognized in Turkey, for instance) to be a Muslim sect, but is in fact a descendant of the ancient Gnostics. This group, which amounts to maybe 11% of the total Syrian population, knows that if it ever loses power it will be the target of terrible persecutions, and that it has no choice except remain in power at all costs. Other minorities, such as Christians and Shias, look on things in the same light.

    It is therefore entirely wrong to claim that Assad “is shelling his own people”. Assad is trying to defend his own people from the assault of a majority that is alien to him and to them. Every concept the West can take to the notion of peace-making is entirely irrelevant. We cannot talk to the Syrians as though they could be got to see themselves as fellow-countryman, with more things uniting them than dividing them.

  • kenofken

    There are no good guys in this war.

    • FW Ken

      Corollary: we have no friends in Syria.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    And if we had American solders on the ground this would not have happened.

    • hamiltonr

      Manny, we’re backing these rebels.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        I know. But if we were on the ground we would be in charge of the situation. We’d have some control. But both sides are villains here, Acknowledge that. Until the chemical weapons killed all thos innocents, I was with you and did not advocate getting involved. The chemical weapons were a game changer.

        • hamiltonr

          We can’t keep going to war Manny. We simply cannot. I think what would’ve happened with the Tomahawks is that it would ultimately have put the rebels in control.

          As for what will happen now (they have brokered a deal) I can’t say. All I know is that we can not resolve every problem with American blood and treasure.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Like you were in Iraq, where Christians were butchered and driven out of the country under your own eyes?


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