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IS THERE A SECULAR OPPOSITION IN SYRIA?;
FIRST - EVERYTHING ELSE WILL HAVE TO WAIT';
SERBIA: THE SHOOTING HAS STOPPED'
The chaotic Syrian Civil war has substantially
changed shape over the few years that it has been in progress. Important
powers have taken a hand. There is now a clear recognition that the outburst
of Salafist energy from neighbouring Sunni states, originally expressed
through their clients, centres on taking down the religiously liberal Asad
government, certainly not in imposing a democracy.
Now the embattled Syrian forces confront or cooperate with the US, UK,
France, Iran and now Russia, For all of them the primary target is now the
very successful Islamic State which from one of Al Qaeda's armed groups in
the region, now openly considers itself at war with the whole 'kafir'
non-believing world. IS has on the back of great fervor and sacrifice of its
youthful adherents, plus adequate funds, shocked the middle east and the
world, with its SUICIDE attacks out of region. The great slaughter in Paris
recently being the most dramatic. But even before this, IS had successfully
occupied great tracts of Syria and Iraq, declaring itself a state on that
basis. It has actively emerged now fighting in Libya, Egypt's Sinai
Province, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We report the view that 'ISIS FIRST'
must take priority.
We look at the so-called 'secular opposition' in Syria and conclude that
there really isn't one, although several competing religious groups. We made
this enquiry because 'the talks about talks' to replace the existing Assad
government by peaceful means, refers to representatives of fighting groups
of 'moderates,' being invited to the negotiating table. This will
disappoint. Not much prospect of real moderates getting there, as readers
Finally, by way of hope, we look back at a recent long fighting crisis
centred on Serbia in Yugoslavia, that from 1991 exercised the world, finally
resolving the major issues in 2008. It too looked intractable, but the
shooting has stopped. In 2015 it is steadily being resolved.
Syria: Is there a
Secular Opposition in Syria?
The short answer is: not
Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in Syria? A better question might
be which ‘guys’ offer the best chances for a resolution of the war, which has
long passed the threshold of ‘civil’ to become brutal and hopeless. The reality
of wars makes ‘black and white’ delineations problematic at best. The current
Syrian conflict may have started, appearing as a civil war, pitting a population
desperate for political and economic change, but it quickly assumed a deeper and
more violent nature because it evolved into an ethno-cultural and religious war,
burying any political character under the desert. The politics have been
replaced by a greater and regional debate between different regional powers,
divided in two general ‘camps’, based on its members identifying as Sunni or
Shiite. Accordingly, the Syrian ‘civil war’ has morphed into a full-scale
regional conflict, which extends well into Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen acting as
proxy battlefields for Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, Russia and the United
States and in a secondary role the European Union. In that respect, the Syrian
civil war has effectively delivered a fatal blow to the Sykes-Picot agreement of
1915, which at the end of WW1 handed the provinces of the defeated Ottoman
Empire to France and Great Britain. [continues...]
Syria: ISIS First -
Everything else will have to wait
Analysis: The mega-attack in
Paris changes, in the short run, the nature of the international debate over
Syria's future. The West wanted to have it both ways: Destroy the Islamic State
and topple Assad's regime. “ [Nahum Barnea]
The above, that concisely reflects our view, is a quote from the Israeli Press
following the Paris massacre. There are no ’ifs’ and no ‘buts,’ to this
proposal. Newnations believes that this simple analysis says it all. It is
becoming long overdue and is the only intelligent order of priorities.
But first ask: does Assad threaten world order? Does he send suicide bombers
into Europe to create terror? Is he threatening any of his neighbours? Are his
radical islamist preachers grooming know-nothing western youngsters into the
adventure of a lifetime –likely to be a short lifetime?
No, of course not. Islamists aside, if his government is a problem then it is a
localised problem. Look around, they don’t do democracy in this part of the
The Assad regime is authoritarian, with all its ugliness for the individual, but
so are all the Arab states, check out Egypt or Saudi Arabia. But Syria doesn’t
spout religion, in fact it is the ONLY Arab state that is tolerant of ALL
Shooting has Stopped
Given the sense of hopelessness
in witnessing the current inhumanities of Syria, Iraq, the upsurge of religious
excess displayed by ISIS there- and in neighbouring countries –Egypt and Libya
for example; to review Serbia now as then, the keystone of the Balkans, can be
something of a corrective to despair.
As recently as 2010 the competing interests of Serbia, Kosovo and the Balkans
seemed to be intractable and quite hopeless, rather as currently on the other
side of the sprawl of Turkey, the present middle- east drama is playing out.
All is not well it is true, but the years of daily fighting have stopped; the
rule of law is well on its way through the process of being re-established.
Whilst the last national problem Kosovo, is not yet fully accepted
internationally –due to Serbia calling in all of it’s and Russia’s friends, it
is in real terms self- governing, a fact accepted by Serbia, with no chance of
reverting to its former colonial status. But most important , as with all of the
Balkans –the shooting has stopped, it’s over! [continues...]