What is going on in Syria? A zoo of human passions, and traditional patterns of history. A war is going on. There are simple wars, and complex ones. Syria’s war started simple, one dictator against his subjects, and it is now very complex, having become the war of all against all.
Initially the calm and secular Syrian society came of age, and a consensus was reached: the hereditary dictator got to go. However, the dictator, a trained doctor, son of tough and crafty tyrant, did not want to go, and those attached to him, all the way to Western Europe, in particular the City of London, did not want to go. Chess, Go, and other games people play have rules. War does not. War’s limit as those of the human spirit.
Don’t believe me? Remember then the Obama’s administration “signature strikes”: killing gatherings because terrorists also gather. On the face of it, the theory was as barbarian as anything in known history. Even Genghis Khan’s forces would massacre, but only after a fair warning: ”Surrender, or we will massacre you!” Even the Nazis, who did worse in secret, on a much larger scale, did not dare claim to be as vicious, for all to see.
Thus, definitively, progress is not a quiet, long stream. Instead it can go in full reverse.
Actors in Syria are now many: much of the Western world is involved, including Russia. Yet the motivations of Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, US, Britain, France, Assad, etc.., are all different.
So what does Assad, initial master of that game, want? Initially, dictator Assad wanted just to stay in power, as all dictators do. But then, his strategy to free the Qur’an fundamentalists worked. He helped them, be it only by purchasing “their” oil, just like Turkey did (and sent back weapons, in the case of Erdogan; some people writing this in Turkey, got five years in jail, just for writing this…).
However, Assad is head of the Alawites. Alawites have their own Muslim religion. As the Qur’an promises to kill apostates and unbelievers, worshipping Mahomet and his god differently from one’s neighbor, is a grave, potentially lethal, fateful tragedy. Romeo and Juliet is nothing in comparison. The end result was that the Alawites were badly treated until the French showed up. Under the French, they quickly reached the highest spheres. Alawites have been reluctant to leave them ever since, especially considering that it’s not just a question of social status, but of survival.
Assad was able to get away with his savage repression of pacifist, secular civilians. Then he was able to get away with his manipulations of Islamists, freeing them and endowing them with enough power to become a justification to his brutal, homicidal rule.
Then a new mood surfaced: why not to just eradicate Non-Alawites?
How do I know (correctly guess) that such is the main motivation of Assad now? Too many strikes on schools and hospitals rather than enemy soldiers. That’s called reading between the facts.
So Assad is a monster, in the line of perfectly respectable historical monsters: just as Alexander the Great, or Little Father of the People Stalin, Assad sounds perfectly reasonable. Not to say that the “West” is not also an accomplice. In other words, it’s not just Putin who is a collaborator of genocide (Putin did save Palmyra, so he is not all bad… Far from it, on this subject).
And of course, Assad does not stand alone anymore than Hitler (or the Kaiser) did: when Cameron, France and the US stood ready to strike Assad, British MPs, copiously paid by the sort of fake prosperity the likes of Assad and his family bring to England, voted against striking him, blocking PM Cameron. Thus giving the pusillanimous Obama such cold feet, he had in turn to betray the French…
As we may see next, the mood of the so-called “West” is divided on the subject of striking monsters in a timely manner. In Syria as in many other places. Under the pretext of loud anti-”colonialism”, genocide is authorized… As it is perfectly compatible with the plutocratic doctrine, that evil should rule. Thus anti-”colonialism” is a fig leaf to hide the most significant naughty bits, namely free reins for torturous delights, hidden by tortuous denials.
Genocide of the mostly Sunni population of Syria is a delight many secretly savor. Too bad for the collateral damage.