Monday, July 30, 2012

Syria and the Horrible Saudis: potential developments

The New York Times on Sunday and Monday, June 29 and 30, 2012, carried conflicted, confusing, and disturbing information about developments in Syria.  All quotations are from the Times.

 Most members of Syria’s Alawite, Christian and Kurdish minorities, along with a slice of its Sunni Arab population, still prefer Mr. Assad to what they fear will follow his fall; together, those groups make up perhaps half of Syria’s population, the rest of which is largely Sunni Muslim. [Emphasis added.]

I'm beginning slowly to be drawn into preferring Assad's murderous regime:

Significantly, most of the money flowing to the Syrian opposition is coming from religious donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region whose generosity hinges on Salafi teaching. [Emphasis added]
• • • 
The commander in Saraqib said that when he invited jihadists into his military council, they rejected several proposed names for the expanded group that included references to Syria. “They consider the entire world the Muslim homeland, so they refused any national, Syrian name,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

More hopefully,

An activist helping to organize the Syrian military councils said there were roughly 50,000 fighters in total, and far fewer than 1,000 were foreigners, who often have trouble gaining local support. “If there were 10,000, you would know, and less than 1,000 is nothing,” said the activist, Rami. . . . 

So perhaps the Horrible Saudis will not prevail, and the threat of their prevailing is enough to frighten me, were I a Kurd, to support the Unspeakable Assad regime.

[T]the aim of diplomacy should be to devise a post-Assad power-sharing arrangement that all sides could sign on to.
• • •

There are reasons to hope that Russia and Iran would join the bargaining. Both wish to rebuild their damaged prestige in the Arab world, and Iran is concerned about the fate of more than a million Shiite Muslims in Syria.

I think Russia's and Iran's reasons are different from those stated in the article, and I agree that  they, and Turkey, have good reason to resist Saudi influence over Syria.  The two articles are almost silent about Turkey's role, which I think is important.  I would like to see Turkey, Russia, and Iran join in establishing a moderate, more-or-less democratic Syria, free of Saudi influence.

And that will require Israel to behave. 

Here are images of Salafistists at work, posted on the web within the last week:

These are Salafi in Algeria:  

I know Christians whom I love.  Perhaps I could love a Salafi, ere he not trying to kill me.

This is a quotation from Monday's Times article, with no antecedent nor citation:

(Mainline Qaeda ideology calls for a Pan-Islamic caliphate.)

That is, in a way, a wonderful dream, one that might well invite me, if I were young, hung, and full of cum -- and Islamic. 

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