Thursday, May 05, 2011


Very interesting survey of the history and politics of Syria. The conclusion is excerpted below, but the whole article is well worth a read.


Making Sense of the Syrian Crisis
May 5, 2011
By Reva Bhalla

Troubles are no doubt rising in Syria, and the al Assad regime will face unprecedented difficulty in trying to manage affairs at home in the months ahead. That said, it so far has maintained the four pillars supporting its power. The al Assad clan remains unified, the broader Alawite community and its minority allies are largely sticking together, Alawite control over the military is holding and the Baath party’s monopoly remains intact. Alawites appear to be highly conscious of the fact that the first signs of Alawite fracturing in the military and the state overall could lead to the near-identical conditions that led to its own rise — only this time, power would tilt back in favor of the rural Sunni masses and away from the urbanized Alawite elite. So far, this deep-seated fear of a reversal of Alawite power is precisely what is keeping the regime standing. Considering that Alawites were second-class citizens of Syria less than century ago, that memory may be recent enough to remind Syrian Alawites of the consequences of internal dissent. The factors of regime stability outlined here are by no means static, and the stress on the regime is certainly rising. Until those legs show real signs of weakening, however, the al Assad regime has the tools it needs to fight the effects of the Arab Spring.


JP said...

OK, parody this.

Also: has anyone seen coverage of this in the mainstream media? (It was quite hard to find even online and I knew what I was looking for). UNESCO's recent decision to admit Palestine got massive coverage, this - nothing?

Promotion of Syria demonstrates UN's irrelevance
Israel Today
November 18, 2011

Israeli officials on Wednesday said a decision by the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to name Syria as the Arab representative to a committee on implementing human rights at a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own citizens further demonstrates the total irrelevance of the world body.

Israeli media reported on Syria's promotion on Thursday, just one day after the UN had issued a report condemning the massacre of at least 3,500 Syrian pro-democracy activists and other civilians at the hands of Syrian government forces.

"We are talking about an outrageous absurdity," one Israeli official told Israel Radio. "UNESCO is legitimizing Syria [as a human rights champion] even as it is slaughtering its own people."

JP said...

More UN Glory.


Israel reacts angrily to Austria's withdrawal from Golan Heights
6 June 2013

Israel has reacted angrily to Austria's decision to withdraw its peacekeeping forces from the Golan Heights, saying the move has undermined the authority of the United Nations as the Syrian civil war threatens to spill over the border into Israel.


In Israel, the troop withdrawal was read as a betrayal of the United Nation's commitment to regional security, pledged during Israeli disengagement from Syria in 1974. Austria, along with troops from India and the Philippines, has provided a critical portion of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Undof) charged with ensuring quiet on this sensitive border for the past 40 years.

"The only reason you want anyone there in the first place is in time of trouble," one senior Israeli official told the Guardian. "For the first time in 40 years, it's not easy so the presence ends? That sends a very problematic message to the Israeli public.

"This means that in any future deal with the Palestinians, we won't accept any disengagement forces from the United Nations because at the first sign of trouble, they'll disappear."