How Much do You Know About Syria?
This is not an endorsement of Assad or the Syrian Rebels. I still have not formed a full opinion. I am reading more as to who exactly the Syrian Rebels are and what they stand for. To my understanding they originally advocated to put a Democracy in place. Until the Islamic State got a deep foot hold in place the United States was actually putting pressure on Assad to step down.
Some argue that the influx of the Islamic State into his country has allowed him to stay in power because he is aggressively fighting to remove it from his country. So at this point in time you kind of have to consider the lesser of two evils. The Islamic state follows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is a radical Jihadist who openly says really politically incorrect stuff. Like Kill every infidel. Turn every inch of the earth into a Muslim state and establish a Caliphate in the White House. They are the convert or die group not interested in tolerance. They are the throat slitters. And Assad is fighting them.
I think if you read some of this stuff it will alter your perspective on the situation.
Syria lies on the Western border of Iraq. It also lies on the southern border of Turkey and the Northern Border of Jordan.
There are 3 key players:
1. Bashar al-Assad who is an Alawite Muslim.
2. Syrian Rebels AKA the FSA AKA The Free Syrian Rebels which started with defectors from the Syrian Army.
3. And the Islamic State who consist primarily of Sunni Muslims.
Bashar al-Assad: President who is considered by some to also be a Dictator. He is highly diplomatic, fluent in multiple languages including English and basically comes across as a rational man willing to talk.
His wife does not wear a Burka. He is what is known as an Alawaite Muslim. Which is a tolerant sect of Islam.
"Alawites consider themselves to be Muslims, although some Sunnis (Generally the Radical Sects of Islam that include IS) dispute that they are. Alawite doctrine incorporates Gnostic, neo-Platonic, Islamic, Christian and other elements and has, therefore, been described as syncretistic (Another word for Tolerant)."
Syncretism (/ˈsɪŋkrətɪzəm/) is the combining of different, often contradictory beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion,thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. I.E. You don't kill people you disagree with.
If you observe Assad and his family. You would almost be surprised they are from the middle east. Technically speaking. I would say in general in comparison to other sects of Islam they are a people of reason by American standards. Though we have problems with his handling of his civil war and the use of Barrel bombings etc. Which are basically similar to bombs we used in WW2 that had no guidance system. But he is dropping them in areas that are overrun by the Islamic State and previously did so in areas overrun by the Free Syrian Army.
Bashar Al Assad's father was considered the first dictator of Syria. Before his father took control Sunnis were in control of Syria and were brutal to all minority groups including Christians. It was during the rule of both Asads that the minority groups in Syria held jobs, held government office, and could worship freely knowing that the Asad army would brutally put down anyone who attacked them, this was especially good for the Christians.
The Free Syrian Army:
The Free Syrian Army started primarily as defectors of the Syrian army who were tired of the brutality of the Assad regime and were interested in overthrowing the government and installing a democracy. They defined their enemy as anyone in Assad's security forces attacking civilians." On September 23 they merged with the Free Officers movement. And at this point in time had the support of the United States.
In April 2013, the US promised $123 million aid to rebels, to be funneled through the then leader of the FSA, Salim Idriss. Since February 2014, Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir is the appointed Chief of Staff and leader of the FSA. A coalition of moderate Muslim rebel groups fighting under the Supreme Military Council of Syria, which includes the FSA, on 25 September 2014 allied with a predominantly Christian coalition called Syriac Military Council, to unite their fight against the Assad government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS, IS).
They are also against ISIS. But are not an established military force without an established government in a country being overrun by the Islamic state.
Many of the initial war crimes the Assad regime was charged for such as using Chlorine gas and such were against these people. Which outraged American politicians. At the time and arguably still today they have the support of the United States. They are currently fighting both Assad and the Islamic State. While they are proponents of Democracy. Whether or not that Democracy would consist of a tolerant majority is unknown. And it consists largely of Sunni muslims which are also primarily what the Islamic State is. Then again Assad's wife is Sunni. So it may not mean all that much.
The Islamic State was able to gain ground considerably faster than the FSA. And the fighting between the FSA and IS has been of benefit to the Assad regime. And the fact that Assad has established a hard line against the IS has almost mandated that the United States support his regime because the FSA is unable to defeat IS as they have no real military or government. Thus the airstrikes approved by Obama.
The Islamic State:
The Islamic State consists of many followers of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A Sunni muslim whose primary goal is to establish a worldwide Caliphate everywhere in the world. Including the United States. He currently has a $25,000,000 price on his head. The same as Osama Bin Laden. His message is one ripe with violence. And the intent is for any non Muslim to either convert or be killed. He is a proponent of worldwide Jihad and universal Sharia Law. He is considered the "Caliph".
Bakr al-Baghdadi was arrested by US Forces-Iraq on 2 February 2004 near Fallujah and detained at Camp Bucca detention center under his name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry as a "civilian internee" until December 2004, when he was recommended for release by a Combined Review and Release Board. In December 2004, he was released as a "low level prisoner".
His message is one of murder, rape and violence. And he does not mince words. His message is vile. Spread Islam to all parts of the world. Rape the women of Infidels to seed the race and you convert or have your head cut off. And his goal is for this to happen in America and every inch of the world. And he says this kind of stuff outright. And the chants his people make are of bombs and making wives of Americans infidels widows and he even advocates and endorses the rape of American women.
Human Rights Violations by Assad:
Some argue that the Assad families rise was initially beneficial to Syria. Because previously violent religious intolerance was controlled by force. However as a result Assad had to rule with a high level of violence himself. Which he justified as necessary to keep peace and prevent uprisings and violence from those intolerant of others.
You also have to keep in mind that there are still a great number of people in Syria who do support him.
The same violence that was initially used to control violent and radical people who opposed other peoples religious beliefs began to be carried out against people who opposed his regime.
He has taken a great deal of criticism and has been accused of carrying out a sort of genocide against his own people who oppose his government. Though he has been somewhat adamant in denying the use of chlorine gas etc.
What angers people are his use of what is known as Barrel Bombs. And his actions against some of his own people arguably creates more people who oppose him.
In the video below you can see what the media calls a "barrel Bomb" being set off below. They do not have the same sophisticated weaponry the united states has. So Assad initially started fighting his civil war by bombing places where there were FSA uprisings. And they drop bombs without any kind of guidance system into populated areas. The bomb in this video is basically a fuse bomb dropped out of a plane going over a city. And the result has been a great deal of non military casualties that include children etc.
Options . . . What Options?
1. Arm a weak rebel force who appears legitimately tolerant and is attempting to establish a "democracy"? Of which we have no real way to even predict what it will be like and who the majority will be? Just hope for the best considering prior to Assad they were united under quite a bit of violence against many segments of their own population. Then just hope they can defeat the Islamic State without any real Military or Government? They have not been able to fight IS to begin with. It has overrun the country. And those weapons always end up in the hands of the enemy. At this point it would require going to war with both Assad who has taken a stance against terrorism and also Russia now.
2. Syria/Assad is now being backed by Russia. And Assad claims his goal is to defeat the Islamic State. And now he has a world power behind him. Maybe it will result in the death of pro-democracy rebels. But is involvement in their civil war worth it at this point? Going to war with Russia? Even if Assad is a brutal dictator. The people he is fighting are screaming "Death to America."
3. Sit this one out and see where it goes.
4. Go in and take out IS and align with Assad who is essentially a dictator. But someone who is more diplomatic than anyone else in the muslim world.
What do you think?