Syria Without Assad Is Not An Improvement
posted at 9:10 am on August 15, 2012 by Michael van der Galien
The entire world has watched for weeks and even months how Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has terrorized, tortured and killed his own people. Europe and the United States were quick to condemn the violence, almost immediately calling for Assad to step down.
Although the dictator was initially supported by Russia and China, these two countries have also grown to understand that he can’t be permitted to stay. He has killed too many people; besides, he doesn’t seem able to restore order.
Supported by the West and especially Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the rebels are stepping up their attacks against the Assad-regime. They are clear about their goal: they want to remove Assad from power.
Assad might be one of the world’s biggest sponsors of terrorism, but that does not automatically mean that it is in the West’s interests to replace him with the aforementioned rebels.
The suicide attack on ministers and members of Syria’s security forces two weeks ago proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that the rebels consist of Islamic fundamentalists, rather than of secular liberals, ready and willing to embrace democracy. Saudi Arabia’s support for them too should be reason for concern: the House of Saud is a big proponent of Wahabbism – as extreme, fundamentalist and violent a version of Islam as they come.
This is the kind of Islam the West has come to loath and fear – and with good reason. Saudi women are massively oppressed, homosexuals are publicly executed, and Christians and especially Jews are considered to be slightly less than human. Heck, they’re so hated by Saudis that they’re only able to live in special resorts; if they leave these heavily secured neighborhoods they’re considered fair game for extremists.
The only reason the Saudis are considered somewhat respectable is their willingness to sell oil to the West. Other than that, the differences between the Islamist regime of Saudi Arabia and that of Iran are minuscule.
Interestingly enough, Iran continues to support Assad. The reason for that is simple: Assad supports Shi’a terrorists and Iran is a Shi’a country. The Wahabbis, on the other hand, are radical Sunnis. This means that they are Iran’s natural enemies.
The above leads me to conclude (and fear) that the real battle in Syria is not between democrats and a ruthless dictators, but between Sunnis on the one hand, and radical Shi’a and a powerful minority of Alawis on the other. The former are supported by the radical Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, the latter by the extremist Shi’a of Iran.
No matter, then, who wins, the West – and freedom – will lose. There is no use in replacing Assad with the rebels; it will not lead to less oppression, only to the oppression of different groups and individuals. Relatively speaking the situation in Syria may even become worse if Assad is ousted: the dictator protects minorities because he considers them their allies. Once the Sunni majority gains power, however, their circumstances will radically change.