DECIPHERING SYRIA

The situation in Syria remains a prime concern because of the impact on the entire region. Should the Assad government fall, probably a more radical group similar to the Moslem Brotherhood would move into power. While the Assad family haven’t been a gift to humanity, they could be replaced by a more destructive mentality. In one of her last addresses before leaving office, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned the terrible war could actually get worse.

            Israel made no bones about its recent air strike inside Syria to destroy a convoy carrying anti-aircraft weapons. Defense Minister Ehud Barak made it clear that Israeli threats are not empty. As Bashar Assad’s grip on power weakens, Israelis fear Syria’s substantial stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah or a similar radical group. We can conclude that the air attack was probably a sign of what may be ahead as the Syrian nation continues to crumble.

A week ago the Syrian rebels scored one of their most significant victories by capturing the nation’s largest dam which had been a symbol of Assad family’s rule for four-decades. An al-Qaida linked militant group now controls a significant amount of the water in the north and east portions of the country. The rebels also have command of three dams on the Euphrates River. Fighting continues in Damascus as the rebels keep pushing closer to the heart of Assad’s seat of power.

Kidnapping has now become common. As government control eroded  in northern Syria, kidnapping for money became frequent. Kidnapping of civilians on both sides has raised fears of what is ahead. The raping of women and girls is now widespread. In many areas of the country the battle continues between the Sunnis and the Shiites.

How do we decipher where the conflict may be going? The Muslim Brotherhood can give us some important clues. Beginning in Cairo in 1928, the organization believed  in the establishment of a fundamentalist state ruled by the strictest interpretation of Shari’ia or Islamic law. They view secular Arab regimes as the foremost obstacle to establishing a state ordained by the Koran. Should the Brotherhood come into power, Israel can expect trouble. The Brotherhood views on jihad are not unified although they basically have no problem with the use of arms and revolution to achieve their objectives. Because America is a secular government and certainly not an Islamic nation, the USA also comes into their crosshairs for conflict.

The bottom line is that the future for Syria cannot be good. Chaos and killing will continue until the current stalemate is broken. While it is taken much longer for the rebels to prevail than was thought earlier, the government is certainly not winning. In Middle Eastern countries, revenge always remains a factor and memories are long. Because the Assad family comes from a religious minority, sooner or later, they will fall. The history of the groups opposing them doesn’t promise relief for the Western world.

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Filed under middle east, Muslims, Syria, Violence

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