Friday, April 19, 2013

What hope is there for Syria?

Each night we see Syria slowly descending into an ungovernable state. On one hand we have a despotic Government led by a family that battles to hold onto power at all cost; a Government that shells the homes of ordinary Syrians, who have only one wish---to live in peace and safety.
On the other hand we see a loose alliance of 'rebels,' with very different agendas, cooperating for the moment, until the regime fails. We already see signs that the divisions within the 'rebels' will play out well before they achieve a 'final' victory over the failing Syrian Government.
In the meantime, the West is supply arms to the rebels and in the words of the President,  'the very weapons provided by the West will be turned on the West in the near future.' For once the President is correct. Even a small but well organized group of fanatic Islamist rebels will win in the end. That is because they are willing to give their everything to achieve victory in the mistaken belief that they will be rewarded with a place in Heaven. Who can fight against such elemental beliefs. History tells us that well organized and tyrannical groups can win against their much more numerous enemies. Just stroll down the history of the Bolsheviks and their struggle to gain power.
The two groups, Bolsheviks and  Islamist rebels have only one thing in common; their deadly desire to win at all costs. Will Syria have to follow suit and only emerge after 70 plus years as a democratic nation where the will of the majority finally wins?
Syria is now a failed state and all that this implies. Services are breaking down and only small enclaves remain where life is lived as 'normal. The West is making a huge mistake in backing the 'rebels' simply because they do not understand the various groups that are vying for power. By meddling in this struggle we will see another Afghanistan; where life for large sections of society will be one lived as in the Dark Ages of European history. The Syrian people deserve so much more.
I believe that we will see a huge 'movement of people' across borders, which in turn will destabilize Syria's neighbours as they struggle to cope with the deluge. The ramifications for the Middle East and beyond will take generations to find a new balance.
What is most worrying is that there appears to be no easy solution; at least while on one hand we see the rise of Islamic State, who's citizens have  a 'secular heart' or on the other a continuation of a cruel and self-seeking regime. God alone knows the answer.