by Al Bloomfield
Saturday April 14, 2018
DAMASCUS, SYRIA – The Syrian Civil War is more than a conflict between the dynastic dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad and various rebel groups. It is one of the most (if not the most) complex and multifaceted civil war in all of human history. Dr. Assad (for he is a medical doctor) inherited the government, the people and the nation of Syria from his father, General Hafez al-Assad – thus forming an authentic dynasty without a crown. The ruling House of Assad belongs to the Alawite religious sect of the Shiite denomination of the Islamic religion. The Alawites are a religious minority in Syria that dominates the government and military. Although Syria is a Sunni Muslim majority country, the Muslims of the Sunni denomination of the Islamic religion are marginalized in Syrian society by the pro-Alawite, pro-Shiite Assad regime where the Shiite minority dominates the government and military. That is the first complication – a minority dictatorship that marginalizes the majority.
The second and the larger complication is the tangle of alliances among the combatants. Syria’s allies include Russia (her closest ally), Iran (a Shiite majority Islamic country), and Hezbollah. The latter is a kind of stateless political party, terrorist organization and social services organization all rolled up in one – sort of like a politicized version of the National Urban League, but with guns!
Russia has Russian Army troops on the ground in Syria as well as Russian mercenaries and civilian contractors. Russia has been allied to Syria since the Cold War days of President Hafez al-Assad. President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has sold President Bashar al-Assad war planes, other weapons, as well as assisted in the production of chemical weapons for Syria.
The mullahs of Iran have thousands of militiamen in Syria, have helped to train Syria’s soldiers and sent vast stores of arms to Dr. Assad’s government. Lebanon-based Hezbollah fights for Dr. Assad against the rebels because they depend upon Syria and Iran for their weapons which they use to fight Israel.
Against the Syrian dictatorship and its allies is the Free Syrian Army composed of Syrian Army deserters. It is a fractiously factional group on the losing side of a very bloody war. Jabhat al Nusra (al-Nusra Front) – a terrorist organization that has pledged allegiance to al-Qa’ida and wants to destroy the United States, is fighting President Assad’s regime. But they are not necessarily an ally of the Free Syrian Army – which they have attacked! Also, the Free Syrian Army (which has received support from the United States) contains some elements that the US government does not approve of. Thus the end result has been lackluster support for the Free Syrian Army by the United States. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is also fighting against the Assad regime. So, the Syrian Civil War is a war with multiple sides instead of just the normal two.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Emirate of Qatar – both Sunni majority monarchies – oppose the growing power of the Shiite-majority Iran, and have sent money and munitions to various rebel groups fighting against the Assad regime including terrorists, even over the objections of Washington.
A further complication has been the rise and decline of the Islamic State – a homicidal death cult empire infamous for its massacres and brutal executions – which is determined to conquer out- right Syria and Iraq as well as other regions of the Middle East. The Islamic State has been beaten back in its attempt to conquer Syria, massacring everyone of all sides who gets in their way. IS was attacked by the United States (which poorly supported the Free Syrian Army) thus making the United States seem to be a de facto ally of Bashar al-Assad – until American forces attacked Dr. Assad’s regime twice for the use of chemical weapons.
Rather than be weakened in the chaos of a multisided civil war, President Assad has adroitly manipulated these conditions to bring his regime on the battlefield within sight of total victory, despite the recent bombings of his chemical weapons facilities. The Syrian Civil War – which has killed nearly half a million people and displaced as refugees millions more – started as an outgrowth of the Arab Spring with street protests in Damascus calling on an end to the Assad dynasty. Protests turned violent and the Syrian Army’s guns opened fire. The Civil War began!
Sources of information for this report included CNN, MSNBC, ABC, USA Today, the Washington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
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