Green Room

Syria Without Assad Is Not An Improvement

posted at 9:10 am on August 15, 2012 by

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.

This article first appeared at MT Weekly. Follow me on Twitter.

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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

Are you talking about Lybia, Egypt or Syria?

(I know stupid question. The quote applies to all three. And the President embraces the “rebels.”)

BigAlSouth on August 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM

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

i’m sure they’ll embrace democracy, right after they stop beheading their opponents:

golembythehudson on August 15, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Yeah, the Greeks, Russians, Israelis, etc figured this out on Day 1. This is why the Russians have been fencing Assad off so assiduously: not because they’re enamored of him, but because they know a state-Islamist Syria run by MB jihadis would be the worst next development in the region.

J.E. Dyer on August 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM

So there are no good outcomes. What’s the least worst outcome?

1) Assad somehow retains power, by killing a couple hundred thousand, allowing Syria to remain an ally of Iran and support Hamas & Hezbollah.
Not good.
2) Muslim Brotherhood takes over, massacres Alawites and Christians, and joins with MB Egypt (& Libya? & Tunisia? & Turkey?) creating a new, powerful Islamist axis that’s a player on the world stage.
Not good.
3) Syria fractures, Kurds have their own not-a-state state, MB takes over part of Syria, but Alawites & Christians have their own part as well, and both of those sides are too weak to take over completely and are reduced to a low-level civil war.
Not good, but seems to give less chance for world wide mischief.

rbj on August 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

rbj: not a bad assessment, at all. As I see it, the West has to weaken all parties involved. Make sure that not one can truly be in charge.

Michael van der Galien on August 15, 2012 at 3:53 PM

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