July 21, 2012

THE BA'ATHWATER WITH BABY:

Syria Is a Battle for Entire Mideast (Jonathan Freedland, 7/21/12, The Guardian)

 Its fall will obviously transform Syria, a country that has lived under the boot-heel of that clan for four decades. But it will also radically affect the wider region. Syria, which borders Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel, does not keep itself to itself. As one former Obama official says: "Syria won't implode; it will explode." Put simply, the battle for Syria is a battle for the entire Middle East.

Take the most probable consequence of Assad's removal, a round of revenge killings perpetrated by Syria's Sunni majority on Assad's Alawite community and their Christian allies. They will be seeking vengeance, not only for the thousands slain in the current uprising, but for a history of brutality that includes the slaughter of up to 20,000 in Hama in 1982, the last time an Assad faced popular protest.

If that kind of sectarian violence erupts, don't expect it to stay confined to Syria. Even if the killing does not spill over the borders, then Syrians themselves will, joining the 125,000 who have already fled as refugees. And that's without Syria becoming the site of an all-out proxy war, with Saudi Arabia backing the rebels and Iran lining up behind the pro-Assad forces.

The west will not stay aloof for long. (Some say it is already involved, tacitly backing Saudi and Qatari arms shipments to the rebels.) Strikingly, the talk in the last 48 hours has shifted from direct intervention "" for which there were few takers "" to an international peacekeeping force to be dispatched after Assad's exit. Former CIA official Bruce Reidel, who led President Obama's 2010 review of US policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, today proposed just such a force, noting the paradox that one of its first tasks would "be to protect the Alawite community and its allies from vengeance". 

Did we learn nothing in Iraq?  Purge prevents the need for Surge.
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Posted by at July 21, 2012 9:12 AM
  

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