Fixing Syria (1): The Next Hundred Years

Syria will not be fixed in my lifetime, and millions will die of it before Assad leaves the scene. The comparison is with Franco who from 1939 to 1976 ruled with malign religious ferocity a turbulent, fractured, freedom-seeking agnostic insurgency while Britain, France and America looked the other way.

It is Russia and China looking the other way now, and the slaughter will go on.

It is amazing that America failed to offer a deal: sanctuary in Las Vegas with a swarm of his courtiers after a peaceful handover to secular nominee. But no: they wanted, and the ICC wanted, not just his head but his meek and mannerly acceptance of his own beheading.

They did not guess that this might seem to him an inconvenience, and he would use every weapon the West and the Russians had sold him to keep his head and his neck on his shoulders; as would you or I.

And tens of thousands will die this calendar year, including hundreds of Syria’s finest political intellects, because of this failure to find that diplomatic necessity, that diplomatic fundamental, a way out for both sides.

The next three months will be as violent as those preceding the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. Israel will nuke Iran, Russia massacre Chechnya, China ‘crack down’ on its Muslim dissidents, the Taliban massacre those Hazaras that did not get on boats, and Assad continue his Holocaust, because Obama cannot move against any of them in a run-up to a tight election and they know it.

Thus it was in 1956 that the USSR invaded Hungary and ‘cracked down’ on Poland and East Germany, and Britain, France and Israel bombed and invaded Egypt, know Eisenhower was sick and Nixon, Acting President, dare not move in an election year against them. And thus it was that Israel bombed Gaza to smithereens three weeks before Obama was inaugurated and was theoretically powerless and so was Bush, the ‘lame duck’, to do anything about it.

These democratic interims are useful to the tyrants. They are what we used to call windows of opportunity, and much evil steps through them.

And it’s a pity.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Can’t agree Bob. Syria will be sorted out for the better quick smart. Assad won’t be around much longer that is for sure. Russia and China just want to be spoilers draining their treasuries

  2. Agree entirely. There will be no quick answers in Syria even if Assad falls tomorrow.

  3. hudsongodfrey

    Civil wars are seldom easily solvable. I can’t help wondering what they thought in Russia on the day Bush went into Afghanistan.

    I suspect that if the rebel gain control and are able to form government that they’ll look to do business with the Assad regime’s former clients. But I could be wrong.

    • If they weren’t laughing and rolling on the ground they should have been. Then a year or two into the illegal invasion of Iraq, their sides must have split.

      History will judge George W Bush very harshly over Iraq; less so over Afghanistan which after all was and is a UN mission.

    • I suppose Russia thought the same way they did on 912. As did Iran and nearly everyone else who had crossed the USA (or been its ‘victim’ depending on which way you looked at it) and that was that there was about to be a massive obliteration of anyone who moved. Thus the cooperation of certain Russian states was not actively opposed by Russia and so on.
      As forw hat happens if the rebels gain control, unless they are Al Quaeda they will be openly impartial to the USA but AL Quaeda or not, none of them are likely to be the slightest bit friendly towards Russia OR Iran. Why would they? If there has been 200,000 deaths (or only 30-40,000, the same number caused by Assad’s father in Hama in 1982) they are not likely to forgive the countries which armed the Syrian regime doing the slaughter.

      • A good question, M Ryutin.

        The theory goes that no matter what sort of government of whatever persuasion rules a country, the national interest remains the same.

        Thus Stalin followed similar foreign policy to Tsarist Russia, and thus the foreign policies of Clinton Bush and now Obama have little real differences.

        It seems likely that whoever holds or takes power in Syria, they will be aligned to Russia China and Iran rather than with the western powers; Assad was once seen as a pro-western leader. The national interest overrides personal preferences and partisan politics.

      • M Ryutin,

        Your analysis may be correct if the rebels rationalise it that way or in anything like that specific detail. But I think Doug also makes the point behind my reasoning which is that the national interest probably doesn’t change and seems more than likely to prevail over other considerations.

        Give a thirsty man in a dessert a drink and you undoubtedly will make a friend. So assistance that is seen as such will count for something but it has to be remembered as opposed to sneakily contrived under typical CIA auspices, and leaked out some decade or so too late. A lot of that sort of information feeds a confirmed bias on the one hand or will be ignored as a distant irrelevance on the other depending on people’s prevailing allegiances.

        I’ve also followed a little of Robert Fisk’s commentary on the subject of Al Qaeda, and he was saying that their cause is seen within Middle Eastern Arab countries as narrowly focused on rather extreme goals that lack relevance to the people’s personal circumstances. In other words they could infiltrate rebellions if they offered more and better arms and equipment than others could, but since they’re no longer in a position to do so they’re probably an irrelevance. And others are certainly separately arming both Assad and the rebels.

        I can’t Assad lasting that much longer one way or another. But when he does go I doubt that whoever replaces him will be better. We can only hope that the situation doesn’t devolve into sectarian conflict. Because if it does the Bob’s right, it may not be fixed within our lifetime.

  4. Syria hosts Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean.

    They won’t give it up easily.

  5. Post war will be agonizing but the end is very near for Assad

    • And for twenty thousand better men and women.

      In the next four months.

      How are you comforted by this?

      • There are MILLIONS of Allawites Bob. Even if Assad goes, they will remain - for a while. And cop the backlash for their domination. That is the way of it. the way these things seem to play out in various places.

        • And the individual dead don’t trouble you?

          What a monster you are.

          • Adding to your figures is monstrous? I disagree.
            As for your classification as to losses of life and discrimination generally, I am equally against this inhumanity, whether it be the bombings of Shia/Sunni mosques by Sunni/Shia terrorists, attacks on Jews because they ARE Jews OR tribalism in Africa, Islamist terror in Nigeria or Mali, the barbarism of destroying ancient monuments/symbols OR Tamil/Sinhalese violence in Harris park in Sydney or Islamist gunfire/firebombings at a Hindu temple at Bankstown in Sydney etc etc.

            When I (or you) can act personally against it, rather than describe it, let me know will you? And I will not consider you monstrous just because you have not done so.

  6. Something is obviously wrong with the secular equivalent of the Madras school system in Denver, that breeds the revenging lone gunman, who for some slight, I’m guessing buried deep in his past, deems it necessary to create deadly mayhem on his fellow citizens. Is there any reason we do not invade the colleges of Colorado?

    I’m willing to listen to reasonable arguments against it.

Leave a Comment

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

48,912 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>