City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Michael J. Totten
From Syria’s Ashes « Back to Story

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Yes ,I can see the map,but I can see a disaster for one minority that may stay under Sunni rule(or immigrate to Lebanon where they came from anyways),the Druze,they are surrounded by Sunnis from all sides(with the Golan in Israel,the continuation of their lands from Mt lebanon has been cut off).Notice that Christian Syria sort of overlapps with Alawi Syria with Christians being a majority in parts of Tartus where Alawis also live and forms a boundary between Sunni Syria and Alawi Syria in Idlib and Homs thus Christians and Alawis and possibly Ismailis can carve a state from Latakia,Tartus parts of Western Hama,Western Homs and Northern Idlib
This artical is rubbish. Alawites are more Muslims then the Sunni or Shia sects. We do pray 5 times a day, we fast in ramadan, we celebrate eid. The difference is we look up to Jesus and we have Ali after the prophet died. Get your facts right first. We are no fanatical muslims like the sunni muslims are they are crazy and have no place in this world. Bashar is not a tyrant we the syrian community wnat no one else.
The Alawite,Shia and Sunny Problem did not exist in the past during 1400 years and it is very strange that US where many different religions and different races are living in full harmony and Syria shoold be separated to five states because of minor differences
If Assad and the Alawites are driven out of Damascus and into the northwest, I doubt it just ends there. The Sunnis would no doubt be emboldened, vengeful and eager for greater gains. Islam wouldn't settle for most of Syria. They're going to want it all. Given that Islamists are the big movers and shakers in this "Arab Spring", don't expect them to offer the infidels any quarter.

As we saw in Libya and Egypt, "moderate" muslims simply don't/can't/won't stand up to the Islamists. Never have, never will. You either have a strongman of some sort, or you have some version of angry, fundamentalist Islam that is hostile to infidels.

If the northwest mountains are defensible, then maybe the non-Sunnis up there have a shot. But I'm pretty sure they'll be looking at a life like Lebanon, and will slowly be cleansed themselves.
As usual great commentary by Totten.
An Alawite, non-muslim state may well be a great development for the Mid-East. If the Alawites have to 'cleanse' some shia and sunni terroist spawn of Satan, so much the better, IMO.
Interesting points. However I would take issue with the statement that "Alawites are not Muslims." Yes, this likely rests on political considerations. But when was this ever not so?

The Catholic-Protestant wars in the 1500's and 1600's in Europe were waged by two sides that considered each other heretics. They eventually reached a - political - decision whereby they both agree to consider each other Christian brothers. More recently, right wing US Christians who used to consider Mormons heretics have warmed to the idea that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney - a Mormon - can be a fine standard bearer for conservative Christianity.

There is no reason to suppose that Alawites as a group will choose to resume their political status as "non-Muslims." And there are powerful incentives for both the Alawi and Sunni to patch things up once this is over. Bear in mind any ethnic/sectarian mini-state in that region will be viewed hostilely by powers like Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and others who fear such irredentism in their own areas.
Absolutely correct analysis. I have been saying the same thing for a long time. By the centennial anniversary of WWI, middle east map will not resemble current one. Neither Syria, Iraq nor Turkey even Iran will be able to escape the incoming bloodshed.
By your writing, it appears that all Sunni prefer Islamist state and that Christians, Druze and Kurds are merely uninterested observers.Truth is of course different: nobody except hardline Sunni wants Islamic state. However, for Saudis & Co., democratic Syria is Writing on the wall. They cannot let it happen because they would be next. So, if division happen, I bet on border few km east of road Damascus-Aleppo. True, Assad would probably get pat on the shoulder and friendly advice not to run for third term. But people there would remember who stood with them and who wanted to deliver them to Taliban, so Russia would still be held in high esteem. As for West... some had been smart and measured words. They will be consider friends.
spread the word. We americans are leaving the region. we may come back as tourist but only if the stop blowing each other up. we are done 10 years and more in Iraq and Af/Pak

enough is enough
Interestingly northwest syria is where the last of the Aramaic Chiristians still live. Least that was the cae when I was there in 2002-2005.
Excellent article! The mainstream media goes on and on about Syria's alliance with Iran/Russia but they never have anything informative to say about how secular and modern in outlook the Alawite community really is…

The big question is what would happen to the Christian minority of Syria if the Alawites do form their own state. Would they seek refuge in Lebanon?

Also, could there be a new reality where all
the Arab, non-Kurdish minorities (Shia/Alawite/Christian/Druze) move to the coast and reside in two allied states (Lebanon and the Alawite state) while the coastal Sunnis are forced into the interior?

There is one blueprint for this: Modern Europe, where after WWII the victorious Allies decided that Ethnicity and Nationality needed to be solved once and for all. As a result, millions of people (mostly ethnic Germans) had to move to their historic “homelands” at the barrel of a gun. People do forget that this is a major reason why Europe is peaceful today…
Fascinating, and shows how ignorant most of us are (present commentator included)about the Middle East, probably a lot of other places as well. Are our leaders aware of what's in this article? Why are these FACTS never mentioned elsewhere?

It also shows how complex things are in the Middle East. I cringe when reading that Jews and Arabs have been fighting for thousands of years. My understanding is that this is not precisely true - Jews and Arabs could also be viewed until relatively recently as having friendly relations. Perhaps, somehow that ancient friendship, or at least tolerance could be the basis for a lasting peace. However, that will never happen as long as the myth of age old enmity is accepted as historical fact.

Terrific article!
WHY - oh, why - would any country, of proper and fit mind wish "to lead the Muslim world"? ** First Egypt, now Turkey, then - in the possible future - EGYPT once more? ** WHY, oh, why, inde3ed? -30-
"At this point, the Syrian national army is little more than a well-armed Russian- and Iranian-backed Alawite militia." Well armed with chemical weapons...