Who’s Fighting Whom?
The BBC calls it “a slow-motion tragedy”. Other news media, including the Jerusalem Post, muse over doubts about “commitment to peace” and other irrelevant concepts. CBN News correctly reports “What is happening in Syria is that [President] Bashar Assad and his Alawite elite are fighting a war of self-survival, self-preservation against what is essentially a Sunni revolt against them“.
What are the underlying issues and how does one categorize this civil war?
Let’s get down to brass tacks, so to speak. This Syrian civil war has nothing to do with Israel or the United States. It has nothing to do with oil. This is an age-old religious conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims. There – I said it.
Can this conflict be resolved? Yes and no. Yes, if one side can obliterate the other: then and only then will that conflict end. No, because international intervention will prevent one side from eliminating the other, thereby assuring the conflict continues. In fact, western intervention assures a broader war between Shia Muslims (the Iranian faction) and Sunni Muslims (the Saudi faction).
Rose Colored Glasses Fail
American politicians and philosophers view the Middle East oriental societies through “rose-colored glasses” of occidental democratic values. This is a big mistake. As the poet Rudyard Kipling mistakenly wrote,
Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!
Kipling suggested that when Orientals and Occidentals meet face-to-face, their nationalities and race mean nothing. They become equals. This is where we westerners fail at Middle East policy-making.
It is true that all will be equally judged before God’s great judgment seat, but that won’t happen while they bear arms against one another as they do now.
Setting Up the U.S. for Failure
As long as Sunnis fight Shias, Israel and the U.S.A. can watch from the sidelines. What have we learned from our intervention in Iraq? Before President George Bush (the younger) declared war on Saddam Hussein, Christians and Jews could safely live and do business in Iraq. Good healthy tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia protected Israel.
Now that Saddam Hussein is dead and the Sunni minority no longer has control, the balance of power has shifted over Iran’s advantage.
Our Foreign policy toward the Middle East should be “Let’s you and him fight”.
For many years, Iraq served as buffer between Shias and Sunnis. The buffer is no more.