Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Rules Syria Will Be Settled by Violence, One Way or the Other

By Barry Rubin

I think Hussein Ibish gets the situation regarding U.S. policy toward Syria correctly in an article, appropriately entitled, "A Managed Syrian Transition has Failed," in Now Lebanon:

"The Obama administration hoped to see a managed transition in Syria in which it would reach out to members of both the opposition and the power structure simultaneously. Since the weekend’s massacre in Hama, it looks increasingly unlikely, and the prospect of what Washington fears most—sectarian civil war—is increasingly possible."

Sectarian civil war means that the main battle will become one of Sunni Muslims versus the Alawite minority that has so much power in the government, evolving into a bloody war of communal hatred. In such a situation, Syria's large Christsian minority would also be targeted and, as in Iraq, there would be a civil war over power. I'm not sure that will happen--it might--but the key point is that what's now clear is that who rules Syria would be settled by fighting, not negotiations.

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