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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hama Rules: Shed a Tear for Syria

Spring time for Egypt and Tunisia.... winter for Libya and especially Syria.

The west has come to the aid of the beleaguered and unorganized rebels of Libya who took the example of their east and west neighbors to overthrow their despotic rulers. Tunisia will probably come out ok, and I hope the same goes for Egypt. Libya's, now, civil war seems to be a draw so far, who knows what will become of the old guard there, but Libya is strategically and economically valuable to the west, particularly Europe and even more particularly Italy, so it was no surprise that the EU was going to take the lead in pushing for intervention in favor of the rebels since Gadaffi has always been such a dick.

Syria on the other hand.... well not many (western) nations are very interested in Syria. Syria became an independent country for the first time in its history in 1944, taking advantage of the weak and fascist Vichy government, establishing a republic shortly after the free French and British forces occupied the territory.

The first few decades of Syrian independence would be marred by perpetual political instability and humiliating losses in wars against Israel. In 1970, the Baathist party (not unlike the former Iraq regime) would take power and hold it to this day, first under Hafez Al-Assad and later his son (and current ruler) Bashar Al-Assad.

It is under Bashar that the world got to witness how Syria deals with political dissidents, when in 1982, in response to an ever growing Islamic-fueled insurgency (Sunni majority ruled by Alawite minority), the Baathist crushed the rebels (The Muslim Brotherhood) with such brutality, that in the end the city of Hama (Syrian city and Muslim Brotherhood center of activity) was basically wiped off the map, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 - 40,000 Syrians, the vast majority of whom were ordinary civilians. Thus we get the term "Hama Rules" which basically means if you rebel against the state, you and everyone around you will be liquidated.

29 years later the Arab Spring began in little Tunisia and spread all throughout the Arab world, meeting with varying degrees of success. But Syria's rebellion has taken a much darker tone than the rest. Syria's government, with its Hama Rules Doctrine, responded just like they were expected to, with raw brute force. As I write this, the death toll is nearing the one thousand mark and the rebellion does not seem to be subsiding any time soon, meaning there will probably be many more deaths before this is over.

There has been no talk of intervention from the western powers and it is doubtful that any is forthcoming for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that Syria has very little oil and therefor is of little concern to the world (unfortunately), though a western intervention would probably turn real ugly and further alienate the west from the ever important Arab world.

My pessimistic guess is that in the end, not much is going to change in Syria unless the Arab world joins the western nations in putting pressure on the Baathist to get the heck out of Syria, or at least chill out. If war crimes were a real thing, than the Baathist of Syria would be seriously pooped, though they might be charged with crimes against humanity or something similar, nothing will ever come of it aside from angry words at the U.N or something like that.

So speaking as an American, I wish Syria luck, since that is the most I can do. I would love to go to Syria someday since it is so rich in history, but, for the most part, Syria is not very welcoming to Americans :(.

Good luck my Syrian friends, I hope all your deaths will not be in vain, and who knows, maybe someday we can be friends, I know you do not like me much, but I still like you.

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