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The fate of Syria’s Alawis… and the fate of Israel’s Jews?

Israel/Palestine
on 63 Comments
One of the most urgent and least discussed reasons to justify foreign military intervention in the Syrian civil war is not just the potential takeover of the country by the most fanatic of the Sunni rebel groups, but the potentially disastrous fate that awaits her Alawi or more accurately Nuseiri minority, once the Sunni rebels gain the upper hand. Unless a powerful foreign military force is deployed to the country before the end of this year, there is a real possibility that a Rwanda-scale massacre of Nuseiri Syrian civilians will occur, even though the vast majority of Nuseiris have had nothing to do with the Assad regime’s war crimes.
 
Just next door to Syria, another Middle East minority, Israel’s Jews, is struggling to define its place and the fate of its future generations in the complex fabric of ethno-cultural groups that call the Levant their home. While a powerful military and a nuclear arsenal have thus far spared this minority the need to answer for the crimes of their own fanatics, it is unclear how in fifty years their great-grandchildren, who by then might represent 25% of Israel’s population, will deal with a rebellion by the non-Jewish majority within their borders. (Let alone the fact that Jews are likely already a minority within the borders of historical Palestine.)
 
It is possible that in the Levant as  a whole and as happened in the Balkans after the bloody civil wars of the 1990s, ethnic solidarity based on nationalist mythology will be trumped by an individualistic consumerist culture that raises economic development and personal enrichment to the level of a nationalist ideology. 
 
Just as happened in Serbia and Croatia under the economic incentive programs of the EU, when both countries jettisoned the nationalist mythology that had caused them so much pain in the 1990s and handed over their own war criminals to the International Court in the Hague, we could see discredited Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamist ideologies in the Levant replaced with a down to earth and politically innocuous me-first ideology of personal enrichment.  If that happens over the next fifty years, official national borders between Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon might remain; however, group identity politics will wither away as 21st century transportation and communication technologies will allow labor and capital to easily move across borders for the highest returns.
 
What hope will Israel’s Jews then have of maintaining their military and economic grip over the Palestinian majority inside the country’s 1967 borders in fifty years, when they become a 25% minority and the countries around them rapidly develop and integrate economically?
Nabil Al-Khowaiter
About Nabil Al-Khowaiter

Nabil Al-Khowaiter is a Saudi Arabian writer and consultant on business development

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63 Responses

  1. joecatron
    joecatron
    July 20, 2013, 10:24 am

    “once the Sunni rebels gain the upper hand”

    Was this written a year ago?

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      July 20, 2013, 7:49 pm

      Good question. The author doesn’t seem to know very much about anything.

      Here’s another statement:

      “What hope will Israel’s Jews then have of maintaining their military and economic grip over the Palestinian majority inside the country’s 1967 borders in fifty years, when they become a 25% minority and the countries around them rapidly develop and integrate economically?”

      In fact, the Arab birth rates have converged with the Jewish birth rate inside the green line. And the Jewish birth rates are rising, in large because because of the Haredim but also because secular Jewish families are pretty big in Israel.

      This is also, by the way, why I oppose the “a minority of Jews will rule a majority of Palestinians”. This will likely not come to pass as Arab birth rates keeps falling and Jewish birthrates either hold steady or increase.

      Because even if 80% of Jews occupied 20% of Palestinians, that would still be a moral atrocity. Remember, blacks were never a majority in Southern states during Jim Crow. So a majority of whites oppressed a numerical minority of blacks. Was that somehow more palpatable? Well, no.

      Let’s just drop that argument.

  2. Mike_Konrad
    Mike_Konrad
    July 20, 2013, 10:25 am

    Jewish birthrates are rising. Read stuff by Yoram Ettinger.

    Admittedly, it is not as rosy as Ettinger paints, but it is not as gloomy as you picture it.

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      July 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

      Who is Yoram Ettinger?

      What is the background of these Jewish birth-rates (who? what demographic?)

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        July 20, 2013, 7:51 pm

        It’s a fact that Jewish birth rates in Israel are very high, around 3 per woman. They’re also rising for everyone, including seculars.

        Additionally, the PA has double counted their population for various reasons(getting more in aid, for one), which has led to inflated population statistics on the Arab side.

        But even if this is all true, my previous point about the fallacy (and the obsession) with seeing a Jewish minority ruling over a non-Jewish majority is a red herring. See my (earlier) point about Jim Crow.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 21, 2013, 8:12 pm

        “But even if this is all true, my previous point about the fallacy (and the obsession) with seeing a Jewish minority ruling over a non-Jewish majority is a red herring. ”

        What’s your take on a Jewish majority ruling over a non-Jewish minority?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 20, 2013, 10:47 pm

        Who is Yoram Ettinger?

        For quite a while now, the former Ambassador is a fellow who earns a living writing articles to obscure the reports on demographic trends done by the experts in the respective population and statistical data bureaus.

  3. NormanF
    NormanF
    July 20, 2013, 11:12 am

    With the Arab birthrate in free fall and the Jewish birthrate on an upswing….Israel appears set to be around in another 50 years. The Arab World is disintegrating. While the Jews are a minority in the Middle East, they have formed the only peaceful country in the region based on religion. Arabs are mutually hostile to each other and slaughter each other at the drop of a hat. The greatest Arab problem today isn’t the Jews – its an Arab World being locked away in the Dark Ages, with unequal distribution of wealth and no real future for its young people. This led to the Arab Spring in contrast to the Arab dictators’ use of Israel as a diversion from their addressing their people’s real problems – which amount to a crisis of an existential nature. Nabil Al-Khowaiter’s obsession with Jews and their future indicates what is wrong with the Arab World. Its dying even while its leaders offer no real way forward to except to blame the Jews for all their problems. The real question is not whether Israel will be around in 50 years but whether the Arabs can even rebuild their societies by then. Arabs are in great need of an “Arab Awakening” and are being ill served by intellectuals like al Al-Khowaiter.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      July 20, 2013, 12:07 pm

      The biggest fallacy of this article and your analysis is that israel will be around in 50 years time.

      Some four years ago, the CIA gave israel 20 years of remaining shelf life:
      http://sfbayview.com/2009/cia-report-israel-will-fall-in-20-years/

      What a pair of ridiculous fantasists you and Mr. Al-Kowaiter are.

      • jon s
        jon s
        July 21, 2013, 6:56 am

        Taxi, May you live a long life. (and have to endure Israel’s existence every day, evey year.)

      • yrn
        yrn
        July 21, 2013, 8:34 am

        link to sfbayview.com
        What a great resource.
        In the level that Mother told grandpa and Aunt told Mama.
        No Names no resources Nothing.

        If those are your reources.
        I bet Israel dose not exist anymore ????
        Dose it ?

    • seanmcbride
      seanmcbride
      July 20, 2013, 12:09 pm

      NormanF,

      What is your response to white Christian Europeans and Americans who discuss their demographic prospects in the manner to which you are accustomed?

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        July 20, 2013, 7:11 pm

        Ahmm that they are acting in a somewhat sane manner.
        Demography matter because culture matter and religion matter.
        It’s race that’s irrelevant.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      July 20, 2013, 12:28 pm

      @mike and norman,

      Yoram Ettinger has some serious rose painted glasses:
      “The Jewish majority benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility rate and migration, which could produce an 80% Jewish majority (in Israel + the West Bank!) by 2035.”

      Ettinger provides no reference for the robust tailwind but he does provide a link for “migration” – his own article claiming that, out there, there a 500,000 Western Jews are about to move to Israel.

      So, per your source, half a million potential immigrants + a tailwind = a Palestinian minority of just 20% in one generation.

      Mazel tov.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 20, 2013, 2:31 pm

      As of last April, the Jewish population grew 1.8% (similar to past years) while the Arab population grew 2.4% (a rapid decline from the 3.4% annual growth rate in the 1990’s). The Christian population grew 1.3% and the Druze population grew 1.7%.

      Israel has the largest disparity of wealth/income of any OECD member.

      Just some caveats, make of them whatever.

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      July 20, 2013, 8:53 pm

      While the Jews are a minority in the Middle East, they have formed the only peaceful country in the region based on religion.

      Still with the Hasbara 101 Norman? You’ll need to start lurking around schools to find a population gullible enough to believe that crud.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      July 20, 2013, 10:53 pm

      While the Jews are a minority in the Middle East, they have formed the only peaceful country in the region based on religion.

      Well the Jews of Israel have certainly produced generations of inferior intellects who think that corruption and perpetual wars can be kept a deep dark secret from the rest of the world by applying just a little more hasbara and chutzpah.

      • Obsidian
        Obsidian
        July 21, 2013, 12:35 am

        @Hostage

        ‘corruption and perpetual wars’

        Israel tried to give back Sinai and Golan in 1967. Tried to find an accord with West Bank Palestinians in 1967. Tried to make peace with Egypt prior to the 1973 War, which Egypt initiated.

        http://www.archives.gov.il/NR/exeres/AB6D1490-0846-4573-A380-3BE0D7EE2279,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published

        Unilaterally left South Lebanon and only returned after being attacked by Hezbollah. Unilaterally left Gaza and returned only after being attacked by Hamas.

        For you, Hostage, Arab aggression and corruption doesn’t exist, presumably because you haven’t examined their State files.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 21, 2013, 6:12 am

        Israel tried to give back Sinai and Golan in 1967.

        But Israel didn’t offer to give back East Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza. 1967 was the year that Israel started the war and lied to the United Nations to conceal the truth about that inconvenient fact. BTW, Jordan had a mutual defense treaty with Egypt that permitted it to take collective defensive action under the terms of Article 51 of the UN Charter. Israel had already launched repeated invasions and incursions into the West Bank, starting with a major offensive in the Hebron region seven months earlier.

        So please answer how Israel managed to accidentally get hold of the Sinai and the Golan or those other territories in the first place and why they were retained in violation of the applicable UN resolutions and the UN Charter?

        P.S. Let us know when the JNF is going to give back the land Ben Gurion stole from Arab Palestinians in 1948.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 22, 2013, 10:45 am

        Hostage;

        Your comment july 20 10.53am.

        Your comment is pure racism.

        And also pure hypocrisy.

        Israel’s history looks like a veritable tea party compared to the bloody history of your America.

        YOU are a citizen of the ONLY country to have dropped TWO Atomic bombs on CIVILIANS .

        You have an absolute nerve.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      July 21, 2013, 1:51 am

      “the Jewish birthrate on an upswing”

      But from what I have read this increase is an increase in the Haredi Jews who neither work nor join the armed forces. The result of that will be a miniscule army and no economy to support it.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        July 21, 2013, 4:35 am

        Not to mention that the Haredi Jews are supported by welfare payments that are provided by either Israeli taxpayers or generous donations from the West (that would otherwise be available to support the IDF).

        Each Haredi couple produces on average about 8 unproductive children, now that is a demographic solution that any enemy of Israel would have to support.

  4. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    July 20, 2013, 11:55 am

    “One of the most urgent and least discussed…”

    It’s never seriously discussed because it’s the most hollow argument of all: help racists to win a war of aggression to stop racism. If it would be meant seriously it would mean supporting the Syrian army, Hisbollah and Iran, who distinguish from the Western/Zionist/Wahhabi racist “rebel” terrorists by not being racists.

    “… reasons to justify foreign military intervention in the Syrian civil war … ”

    There is already a massive foreign military intervention going on. NATO- and GCC-countries together with Israel arm, train and support in Syria a bunch of most racist terrorists of the Al Qaeda brand whose target is nothing else than a sectarian genocide.

    “… the potentially disastrous fate that awaits her Alawi or more accurately Nuseiri minority …”

    Despite all the Zionist, Western and GCC media trying hard to stoke sectarian hatred alongside with the terrorism of the Al Qaeda groups these country support, the Syrian government and the Syrian army led by a Sunni minister of defense does a rather good job at protecting the Syrian society including it’s minorities against the NATO-GCC-backed sectarian terrorists. So, what about asking the “Alawi or more accurately Nuseiri minority” about it? If you ask the minorities what they want to feel better protected, they will tell that the NATO-GCC-countries should stop support terrorism in Syria and stop spreading propaganda inciting sectarian hatred.

    “… once the Sunni rebels gain the upper hand …”

    There are no Sunni rebels anywhere in Syria close to having an upper hand. In some regions in the north of Syria infidel Wahhabi maniacs of the Al Qaeda brand control territory. With their hatred they alienated the population and the minorities there fled to the government, so these infidel Wahhabi maniacs are close to total defeat.

    The only way to save Al Qaeda from a defeat in Syria is a foreign military intervention and that’s exactly the reason why the backers of these maniacs in Western countries discuss that. NATO-country Turkey for example is currently very “concerned” and “worried” that Al Qaeda was defeated in the Syrian border town of Ras Al-Ain by Kurdish forces not driven by a racist Western/GCC/Zionist ideology, and not even the Turkish militay was able to prevent this defeat of Al Qaeda though it tried hard.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 20, 2013, 2:49 pm

      @ Bandolero
      Today, Samantha Power appeared on CSPAN being vetted by Congress for US ambassador to the UN. She continued to advocate for US intervention in Syria, even though she said the US was in economic sequestration and tired of war. When asked what should govern US intervention, she said the principles of humanity, not political bias or imperialism. She was then asked if she thought the US was imperialist. She responded that the US is the “light onto nations” and no other country has done so much for humanity, which is why so many people want to come live here.

    • Donald
      Donald
      July 20, 2013, 3:36 pm

      “the Syrian army led by a Sunni minister of defense does a rather good job at protecting the Syrian society including it’s minorities against the NATO-GCC-backed sectarian terrorists.”

      The Syrian government also does a rather good job bombarding and killing civilians, and murdering detainees. Both sides in this war are butchers.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 20, 2013, 5:17 pm

        “Both sides in this war are butchers.” are there wars in which this is not the case?

        but what is the result of this a plague on all their houses analysis, what forces should we support for the good of the Syrian people, those who are neither butchers that is or in any way associated with them?

        In what way would you distinguish the conduct the Syrian government fighting an insurrection within its own sovereign territory to that of say the USA in its conduct of the invasion and occupation of Iraq? or any other paragon of non-butchery in warfare

        what is extraordinary about the Syrian governments actions that reveal them to be butchers? have any of these allegations been properly investigated? what is the rationale offered by the Syrian government for these operations, have they not repeatedly called for a negotiated settlement?

        other than for moral clarity what is the point of your view that the Syrian government is composed of Butchers, do you think a view at this level of resolution is likely to contain any useful insights, the killing of civilians and detainees are common place in modern war, the old Archbishop of Canterbury Runcie was guilty, allegedly, of a particularly egregious incident in WW2, no one however would reduce him to that act.

        That is the problem with getting in to the politics of atrocity, is the term butcher in anyway analogous to savage? You can not reduce the Syrian government or even the terrifying “salafist” Sunnis to that can you? and though it is no doubt one of their many failings..
        Why would you want to?
        are there wars, especially civil wars, that do not involve savagery butchery and criminal violations of the laws of war, name one, and if you cant could you explain what is especially savage about the Syrian gov. that renders them in an vividly unnuanced way merely Butchers? and the rebels and what that insight tells us?

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 20, 2013, 11:43 pm

        gamal,

        So you felt the quick shot of hate in Donald’s post too. I’ve had this discussion with Donald before, but it’s no use. He’s fixated on ‘Bashar’ and ‘butcher’ – probably the associative rhyme is too strong for him to resist.

        I think it’s his job to make sure that Syria, Syria people, and Syrian leaders are tarnished here in MW.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 21, 2013, 10:56 am

        “I think it’s his job to make sure that Syria, Syria people, and Syrian leaders are tarnished here in MW.”

        Nope. There’s way too much evidence that the Syrian regime has an awful human rights record. Of course, so do the insurgents. I’m mostly popping in from time to time because there’s a tendency on your part especially to dismiss this evidence, to pretend that it’s all good on one side vs. all evil on the other.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 21, 2013, 11:32 am

        But YOU have never presented any evidence, just attack after attack, lashing after tongue-lashing with no focus, no incident to spotlight, nothing that I or others can chew and ponder on and judge for ourselves – just a big mouth protesting because of a personal gripe and because you clearly are confusing the biographies of Asad the father with Asad the son.

        I consider myself on the side of the people’s will. The majority people of Syria, right this moment, want Bashar for their leader, warts and all. So like who the hell are you, not living their difficult and trying circumstances – who the hell are you to have ANY say in the matter? Respect the will of a people in distress, at least.

        And this, your ‘popping in’ to POLICE blogger activity, says it all.

        Your sanctimoniousness is really fascistic and revolt-worthy.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 21, 2013, 5:26 pm

        so what you are saying is that its all evil on both sides?

        leaving aside your odd remark about evidence and its dismissal, lets put it really simply, there are those who having watched Syria, Egypt and others for their whole lives for me since say the late 60’s, while we have no illusions about either the forces operating in the Levant or the regimes that have arisen as a result still feel that a smashing of the Syrian state, in the manner of Libya, whether or not this would be their just deserts for being “Butchers” will be a catastrophe for Syrians at least in the short to medium term, and others in the region most especially Palestinians, no need to delve in to Syria in Lebanon etc i know, i know.

        this entails neither support for butcher bashar nor an ignorance of the context within which the Syrian state has evolved and been operating.

        if we were to look at say the 20th century’s history of butchery and human rights abuses Syria would hardly figure, even though compared to some unspecified ideal they would be found wanting i dont doubt.

        the rebels, whether evil or otherwise, are utterly disorganized linked with all sorts of foreign forces are now assassinating each others leading figures, setting compatriots against each other on grounds of political loyalty, sect and confessional status, are being paid by the dictators of the gulf and given diplomatic cover by the West, leaving aside their qualities personal or corporate, we have no faith in their ability to produce any positive outcomes fir Syria or the region.

        so this moral clarity of yours, they are all evil, where does it lead except to utter confusion, and a dry Zio-caine high, erstwhile supporters of Israel often find the hardest thing to give up is contempt for Arabs often disguised as a disapproval of Arab leaders and or regimes, politically your statement about the location of good is so stupid and contentless one can only presume it is fulling some weird inner need.

        there is lot more to the situation in Syria than bad baathists and arrogant Alawis and slavering Sunnis or even the jackals of the jazeera, to those of us happy to review the evidence.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero
        July 20, 2013, 9:20 pm

        “Both sides in this war are butchers.”

        You missed my point. My point is:

        There is only one side is this conflict which is motivated by sectarianism/racisism hatred and that is the side of the zionist/wahhabi/NATO/GCC-led insurgents.

        It is the insurgents who rally against the Shia and it’s Alavi branch, it is GCC-based state clerics backing the insurgents declaring jihad in Syria against Shia and it’s Alavi branch and it is zionist/NATO-news outfits like Reuters spreading a sectarian narrative of this conficts with regular sectarian reporting like “The Syrian conflict is increasingly pitting Assad’s Alawite minority, backed by Shi’ite Iran and its Hezbollah ally, against mainly Sunni rebel brigades.”

        In contrast, the Syrian government does not try to spread a sectarian narrative to this conflict, and neither do the clerics which support it, and neither does Hezbollah or Iran spread a sectarian narrative. The government is instead spreading the non-sectarian narrative, that the conflict is a fight against terrorists, who are backed and mislead by hostile foreign forces – like imperialists, zionists and wahhabis – and hostile foreign states like Israel, NATO and GCC-states, whose goal it is to further their influence in the region by enforcing regime change, installing an undemocratic puppet regime and subdueing the Syian people to their will.

        It’s only one side spreading this sectarian narrative and that’s the side of the anti-government forces. Inciting sectarian and racist strife is a tool of war which is in this war only used by one side – the side of the insurgents.

        So, I hope you understand now that my point is, that it is highly unlogical, cynical and immoral to back the sole sectarian side of this conflict with a foreign military intervention with the goal of stopping sectarianism. If the goal is to stop sectarian violence the West should support the sole non-sectarian side in this conflict: the Syrian government and their allies.

      • Donald
        Donald
        July 21, 2013, 11:04 am

        “You missed my point. My point is:

        There is only one side is this conflict which is motivated by sectarianism/racisism hatred and that is the side of the zionist/wahhabi/NATO/GCC-led insurgents.”

        No, I understand that part. Though I question how “Zionist” the Muslim Brotherhood types are. Hamas and the Islamist government of Turkey and Sunni jihadists across the Middle East are probably the same as they always were in their views of Israel. Israel might find it useful to see the Syrian civil war drag on and on, but I doubt they want a Sunni extremist victory.

        I’m just here to point out that people who ostensibly favor a democratic Middle East with equal rights for all probably don’t really want to lose sight of what the Syrian government has been like.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero
        July 22, 2013, 7:22 am

        “I question how “Zionist” the Muslim Brotherhood types are. Hamas and the Islamist government of Turkey and Sunni jihadists across the Middle East are probably the same as they always were in their views of Israel.”

        In my opinion, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Zionist movement are quite similar in their sectarian ideology seeing their own sect as supreme. As they both see their own sect as supreme they don’t like each other, but they teamed up in Syria to bring down a non-sectarian government they both dislike for different reasons with the means of systematic propaganda lies, false-flag-terror, irregular warfare and incititement of sectarian hatred.

        “I’m just here to point out that people who ostensibly favor a democratic Middle East with equal rights for all probably don’t really want to lose sight of what the Syrian government has been like.”

        In my opinion, the Syrian government is clearly at the better end of the forces active in the country and in the region. The Syrian government is unlike the forces opposing it not driven by sectarianism, it is commited to democracy and elections and to ensure basic human rights, it is protecting minorities an their forces adhere to the Geneva warfare convention. In the past two years I’ve seen lot’s of false flag terror and systematic propaganda lies to smear the Syrian government, but not one credible case of seious misbehaviour by the Syrian government. At the same time I’ve seen the domestic and foreign opponents of the Syrian government violating all basic norms of ethical human behaviour as well as humanitarian and international law in the most grave ways.

        I understand that there are different opinions who is behind crimes committed by unknown people. I understand that it’s hard to find truth in a sea of false flag terror, systematic propaganda lies and individual misbehaviour, but I can definitely prove certain points of extremely behaviour of the internal and external opponents of the Syrian government.

        For example:

        – the opponents of the Syrian government declined to take part in the Syrian elections held in 2011 and 2012, but chose instead to bring down the government by force
        – the opponents of the Syrian government decline to take part in dialog in the frame of the geneva conference
        – the propaganda of the backers of the opponents of the Syrian government is trying to incite sectarian hatred as a tool of war
        – the propaganda of the opponents of the Syrian government and their backers use deliberated lies to mear the Syrian government and it’s forces with crimes they has not committed
        – the opponents of the Syrian government use deliberate terror against civilians and civilian infrastructure as a tool to pressure the government
        – the opponents of the Syrian government consist of or allied themselves with extremist wahhabi forces who neither respect basic human rights, democracy, or the Geneva warfare convention
        – backers of the opponents of the Syrian government support and illegally supply weapons to non-government forces in Syria who commit terrorist crimes
        – Israel bombed Syrian government and thereby committed the crime of aggression against Syria
        – backers of the opponents of the Syrian government planned regime change in Syria long before the year 2011 and their motivation for this was not human right concerns, but Syrian rejection of Zionism and friendship of Syria with Iran and Hezbollah

        These features distinguish the internal and external opposition and their backers from the Syrian government and their backers.

      • Rusty Pipes
        Rusty Pipes
        July 20, 2013, 10:09 pm

        Part of the reason that there are so many refugees is that once the insurgents get a foothold in a village or town, most of the civilians flee. Although the Syrian Army has moved more slowly in larger cities and around historic sites, it has flattened many insurgent-occupied villages and neighborhoods.

        While the Syrian Army was defending the northern city of Ras al-Ain, the civilians in the town dug in; as soon as the insurgents took over the town, most of the civilians fled. While the Syrian Army was closing in on Qusair, the insurgents kept giving dire warnings about an impending massacre of tens of thousands of civilians in the town (far more than had been documented as living in the town just a few years ago). The insurgents also claimed that they were unable to evacuate wounded fighters, although somehow they were able to find pathways in for reinforcements. When Western journalists accompanying the Syrian Army entered Qusair after it fell, they couldn’t find many people at all and very few of them were civilians.

        Even the pro-insurgent SOHR acknowledges that over 40% of the people killed in Syria have been government forces or government supporters. It also counts a disproportionately higher tally of men over women among the civilian deaths. Bombs falling on houses and schools do not discriminate that strongly against “civilian” men.

        The insurgents, on the other hand, are the only ones who compete with each other to take credit for car bombs that target civilians. The insurgents are the only ones beheading their opponents — and then posting youtube videos to take credit for it. It depends on how you define butchery.

  5. Taxi
    Taxi
    July 20, 2013, 11:58 am

    “… we could see discredited Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamist ideologies in the Levant replaced with a down to earth and politically innocuous me-first ideology of personal enrichment.”

    Discredited Pan-Arab ideology??????????

    What the hell are you talking about? Only the opposite is occurring with Egypt’s Revolutions and Bashar’s smack-down of the foreign Takfiris invading Syria. Surely you’ve heard that Arab secularism (which is the root of Pan Arabism) is on the political rise again.

    And to compare the futures of Alawites to jews in the Greater Levant? Very weird comparison considering that the majority of jews in occupied Palestine are from europe – which also begs the question: what about the 18 million Alawites living in Turkey, on the outer rim the Levant basin? Where do they figure in your calculations?

    You even use the derogatory “Nuseiri” to refer to Alawites.
    “Alawites are sometimes derogatorily referred to as “Nusayris” (Nuṣayrī Arabic: نصيرية‎). Another name, “Ansari” (al-Anṣāriyyah), is believed to have been a mistransliteration of the former”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alawites

    Man! I guess Arab zionism is thriving out there in Saudi Arabia.

    And really, we here at MW would have been better served by a Saudi writer writing about the ‘mysterious’ inner machinations of Saudi Arabia, and not submitting forth some whacky out-of-focus vision of the future of the Levant.

    (Is this writer known or related to ‘womanunveiled’? Same passive-aggressive zionist propaganda style, that’s for sure).

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 20, 2013, 2:54 pm

      It’s interesting, this theory of super-consumerism taking over the Arab Middle East as it took over the USA ages ago. The theory itself is an oxymoron in a way, since it boasts of the rise of consumerism and its partner (Western) individualism. Maslow-Goebbels would laugh at it. So does Zionism. The sale of a Big Lie is a forte of big business marketing, but as well, of secular tyrannical states. It’s pretty darn successful, eh? Maybe because half the mean average IQ is below the mid-point IQ? Combine half of any segment of humanity as quasi or real morons with a state and complicit media block on information, and what does that produce? Today’s 21st Century world?

    • gamal
      gamal
      July 20, 2013, 3:09 pm

      “Pan-Arab and Pan-Islamist ideologies in the Levant” right now after Lebanon in the 70’s, Iraq and now Syria they have never looked so attractive,

      “replaced with a down to earth and politically innocuous me-first ideology of personal enrichment.” yes settling down to ripping each other off is politically innocuous. ok are you saying that after 40/50 years of the implementation of Pan-which ever policies it has led us to the current disorder? How has Pan-Arabism in particular been discredited, Pan-European EU seems to be going swimmingly, everyone is talking about comprising sovereignty to form blocks, in Asia, Europe why not the Arabs?

      “rapidly develop” now laughter has subsided and has been replaced with the melancholy proper to such a topic, so its once that damn Pan-Arabism/Islamism is no longer holding them back, and they are perfectly atomised pragmatically seeking their own enrichment in a “politically innocuous” manner, sounds pretty grim, clearly we have very different notions of the context within which Arabs are struggling, Imperial machinations having no effect at all?

      • Walid
        Walid
        July 20, 2013, 4:40 pm

        gamal, there never was a genuine and natural pan-Arabism. It was all smoke and mirrors and why none of it sticks. Same thing about all Jews of the world being of one nation.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 21, 2013, 12:06 am

        Walid,
        “… never a genuine and natural pan-Arabism”.

        Is that why Syria and Egypt became one country, the United Arab Republic, between 1958 and 1961:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Arab_Republic

        Is that why even Saddam Hussein was working towards unifying Iraq with Syria too?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq%E2%80%93Syria_relations

        You think that ‘Urooba’ is meaningless for the millions of Arab people across the spectrum? Try googling ‘Pan Arab’ and see how many hits you get then come back here and tell us that it’s all fake and smoke and mirrors.

        You’re using the egomaniacalness of a handful of modern Arab leaders to deny the genuine aspirations of millions of Arabs.

        And you couldn’t be bothered to also add that the West and israel were/are petrified of a united Arab world – that they’ve been working since the 1920’s to quash anything that resembles a united Arab world.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        July 21, 2013, 10:20 am

        Taxi wrote:

        You think that ‘Urooba’ is meaningless for the millions of Arab people across the spectrum? Try googling ‘Pan Arab’ and see how many hits you get then come back here and tell us that it’s all fake and smoke and mirrors.

        Are you an Arab ethnic nationalist?

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 21, 2013, 11:16 am

        No Seany,
        I’m an American empathetic.

      • Walid
        Walid
        July 21, 2013, 12:46 pm

        “You think that ‘Urooba’ is meaningless for the millions of Arab people across the spectrum? ”

        Other than for religion, the use of classical Arabic and the common hate for Israel (back then), what did Syria and Egypt have in common? Those alliances you are taking about were for military and political purposes. More natural alliances would have been ones between Egypt and Sudan or Syria and Lebanon. The millions you are talking about are more concerned where their next meal is coming from much more than about pan-Arabism. Whatever became of the Palestinian cause for all these people? The countries with 95% of all the Arab populations are currently dealing directly or indirectly with the bad guys.

        But you’re 100% correct about how the West and Israel have been working to fracture the Arab countries, especially those close to Israel; I should have mentioned that.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 21, 2013, 2:58 pm

        What do Arabs have in common?
        They share language, religion (abrahamic), common borders, chunky aspects of a common culture developed through historic trade routes, and a long long long long shared history. BTW, we define a ‘people’ if they share what is known as the three L’s: Language, Liturgy, Land. Arabs therefore, regardless of recent modern borders, are still classified as a one people. This is not an alien or forced concept in the least. If a Tunisian stranger was to meet a Lebanese stranger in a small town, say in Alaska, both would feel a familiarity: their Arab commonality, they would feel their Urooba, despite them both hailing from different continents.

        Arabs got the three L’s and more and that’s a heckalotmore than we got in the USA – but we still managed to unite – probably cuz we didn’t have a booming oil industry during our civil war to complicate things to the max: petroleum was industrialized following the oil discovery at Oil Creek Pennsylvania in 1859, and the civil war was a mere two years later in 1861. You could say the conditions then were ripe for both our liberation and our unity – the price was high, but we achieved it. And eventually, down the line of history, the right conditions will be at hand in the mideast and it will all be changed, again. What goes up, must come down and what comes down, must go up.

        Walid, I can see you’re in a state of disillusionment with things Arab. I can understand that considering the mass insanities going on in the mideast at the moment. But don’t let that interfere with your usual steady calculations.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        July 22, 2013, 9:17 am

        Taxi,

        Do you support Nasser’s pan-Arabism?

        What are your views on Arab nationalism in general?

        I am only asking these questions because of your comments on Nasser — which seemed to be enthusiastic (I am not entirely sure).

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 23, 2013, 12:26 pm

        yeah i know what you mean, but outside the over blown empty rhetoric there has always been a desire on the part of the Arab peoples to seize control of their own development, of course i sympathize to some extent with anyone who is overcome with nausea at the prospect of considering official Pan-Arab/Islamism, but thats not the whole story.

        to paraphrase Nkrumah “We sought to develop our countries in co-operation with the rest of the world”, at heart the natural Pan-Arabism that i have seen is really little more than that wish, but in fairness i know what you mean and you are not wrong in terms of the regimes commitment to Pan-ideologies, the usual Arab tragicomedy, but the regimes paid lip service to Pan-Arabism only because of the peoples longing for the equitable and sensible use of their resources, and as a means towards political independence, my own family while paying lip service to Pan-Arabism are all very nationalistic, the Arabs should be led by Egypt, of course who else? sati al husri is still read in my milieu.

    • Walid
      Walid
      July 20, 2013, 4:26 pm

      “You even use the derogatory “Nuseiri” to refer to Alawites.
      “Alawites are sometimes derogatorily referred to as “Nusayris” (Nuṣayrī Arabic: نصيرية‎). Another name, “Ansari” (al-Anṣāriyyah), is believed to have been a mistransliteration of the former”

      Hi Taxi, Ansariyyah is actually the name of the mountain, Djebel Ansariyyah, located on northern coast of the country where these people are concentrated. The derogatory part came about from the Sunni Ottoman 400-year occupation of the country. With the start of the French mandate, they started calling themselves Alawiyyun (followers of Ali) to distance themselves from the pejoratif term the Sunni majority had been calling them and to bring themselves closer to the Ismaelian Immamite Shia community from which they had split in Iraq in the 9th century. The name Nusayris comes from Muhammad ben-Nusayr al-Abdi al-Bakri that lived at the time of the last 3 Imams. So their real name is Nusayri and Alawite is a recent name they have been using.

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      July 20, 2013, 7:46 pm

      I think this article is a great example of how Mondoweiss should stay out of things it does not understand. The fact that the editor who decided to publish this didn’t know that calling Alawis ‘Nuseiris’ is an extremely pejorative term (never mind all the other fantasies and inaccuracies in this article) is something I find extremely disturbing.

      So Mondoweiss, stick to your day job and stop publishing offensive crap like this.

      • yrn
        yrn
        July 21, 2013, 7:26 am

        Inanna…………

        Oy Vay…… Mondowiess writes about Syria an Issue they don’t understand.
        How dare tyou Mondowiess write about Non-Understandable Syria.
        About Butchering 100,000 people and no one gives a damn.
        Shoule Mondowiess write about it that NO one in the world understand how come 100,000 people a re butchered and you all look for someone to blame….
        You don’t understand, so Don’r write about it, that’s Inanna rational.

    • miriam6
      miriam6
      July 20, 2013, 10:18 pm

      ..considering that the majority of jews in occupied Palestine (sic) are from europe –

      Sigh…You are wrong.

      The majority of Israeli Jews , all 52 % of them- are of Mizrahi descent , that is, Jews NATIVE to the Mid-East.

      What’s more, intermarriage between Israeli Jews of Ashkenazi descent and Mizrahi / Sephardi descent is high.

      Your fantasy about Israel being populated by alien European types is just that.

      A fantasy.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 20, 2013, 11:49 pm

        So you’re saying that Palestinian jews are the majority in occupied Palestine (isreal)? Other brown-skinned jews are the majority? Wot’s going on here? You mean to say that ashkanazim are the RULING minority?

        Get out of town with your silly-billy theory. You wanna prove my point wrong, then provide stats – otherwise getoutatown cuz your fantastical opinion doesn’t count as valid political science.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        July 21, 2013, 5:51 am

        The Mizrahi are not from Palestine.

        The Palestinians are from Palestinian.

        Arab Jews did not live in Palestine, they lived in the other Arab countries and usurped the Palestinians after Jewish terrorists drove them out.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 21, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Aah Cliffy, always ready with a simplistic, smug, one -sided , response.

        I said the Mizrahim are NATIVE to the Middle East AND Israel.

        I take it from your comment you do not care one jot if Mizrahi Jews REMAIN in the Middle East.

        The Mizrahi DO care, therefore they are determined to continue to live in their Middle Eastern home, in Israel.

        You are spouting nonsense when you claim, falsely that Mizrahim , Arab Jews did not live in Palestine.

        From the horse’s mouth as it were;

        Address to the UN General Assembly (November 13 1974)

        By Yasser Arafat.

        Before 1881, there were 20,000 Jews living in Palestine.

        Between 1882 and 1917 50,000 plus Jews were in Palestine.

        By 1947, there were 600,000.

        Address to the UN General Assembly (November 13 1974)By Yasser Arafat.

        From ;

        The Israel-Arab reader : a documentary history of the Middle East conflict / Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, editors.

        The Palestinian National Charter:
        Resolutions of the Palestine National Council.
        Decisions of the National congress of the Palestine Liberation Organization held in Cairo July 1-17 1968.

        Charter
        Page 366
        Article 6:

        Jews who were living permanently in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion (sic) will be considered Palestinians.

        The Israel-Arab reader : a documentary history of the Middle East conflict / Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, editors.

        http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/7739528

        You are showing your ignorance of what really happened to the Mizrahim;

        Joseph Massad’s ignorance of Arab Jewry

        by Shayna Zamkanei.

        In his January 6 article for Al Jazeera, entitled “Palestinians, Egyptian Jews and Propaganda,” Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, waxes poetic about the havoc the elitist Ashkenazi Zionists wreaked upon Arab Jewish communities in the Middle East.

        He assumes that Zionist intervention alone decimated Arab Jewry,

        and argues that recent pleas for Arab Jews to return to Arab states have a long and legitimate history.

        Sadly, Massad’s article suffers from gross historical oversight.
        His emphasis on linking state responsibility with citizenship ironically legitimizes Israel’s negligent treatment of stateless Palestinians.
        In the interest of space, I have limited myself to five points of clarification:

        1) Expulsion by any other name is just as illegal.

        Massad emphasizes “the fact that Arab Jews were not expelled from any Arab country.” True, no Arab country explicitly issued a decree along the lines of “All Jews are herewith banned, never to return, upon penalty of death.” Since the Israeli government never issued a formal declaration of expulsion, does that mean the Palestinians were never expelled?
        Expulsion can occur under coercive circumstances. Governments can “encourage” people to leave by freezing their bank accounts, forbidding them from most forms of employment, banning them from education institutions, etc. Expulsion from society precedes expulsion beyond the state’s geographic borders. In the course of my research on Arab Jewish identity, moreover, I did meet Egyptian Jews who were, even according to Massad’s definition, expelled. They were told they had 24 hours to leave the country and leave they did. So yes, Arab Jews were expelled.
        Not only were they expelled, but their expulsion was recognized by Palestinian leadership. While Massad broadcasts the PLO’s past proposal for Arab countries to welcome home their Arab Jews, he neglects to mention that at least one PLO member dared to criticize Arab states for uprooting their Jewish communities.
        In May 1975 in An-Nahar, for example, PLO member Sabri Jiryis lambasted Arab countries for expelling the Jews “in a most ugly fashion, and after confiscating their possessions or taking control thereof at the lowest price.” Foretelling the current campaign, Jiryis added that “clearly, Israel will raise the question in all serious negotiations that may in time be conducted over the rights of the Palestinians.”

        2) Lynching is not “harassment.”

        Massad lightly acknowledges that in some Arab countries, Jews ”suffered from harassment by the authorities or even from segments of society at large.” He does not discuss the forms of discrimination that were systemic and enshrined in legal systems, in places like Yemen; and he fails to mention the many instances in which Jews were attacked and killed for being Jewish. Furthermore, he is unable to concede that violence against Jews, which waxed and waned over the centuries, was never fully absent and predated the establishment of Israel.
        The 1800s witnessed a multitude of attacks against Jews in Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut, Dayr al-Qamar, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Cairo, Mansura, Alexandria, Port Said, and Damanhur.
        The 1900s were even more frightful, the most notable massacre occurring in 1941 in Baghdad: 175 Jews killed and nearly 1000 injured.
        These attacks were historically traumatizing events for communities that had considered themselves (and had been considered) integral to the fabric of Arab society.
        In Egypt, the ostensible focus of Massad’s case, Jews were harassed, attacked without recourse to justice and were even made to disappear, as archives from the International Committee of the Red Cross indicate.

        Although I do not read the history of the Jewish communities in such a lachrymose and teleologically Zionist way, Massad’s cleansing of nuance within Arab Jewish history greatly distorts the conditions under which Jews lived and left.

        3) States are responsible for protecting their citizens.

        Nowhere does Massad seriously raise the question of responsibility of Arab states for protecting their citizens. Yes, he brings up Nassar and faults him for not doing enough, but excuses him on the grounds that “this is not the same as expelling a population or deporting it.” Yet by the time Nasser assumed power, most of the Yemeni and Iraqi Jews, and many Moroccan, Syrian and Egyptian Jews, had already left/been forced to leave (depending on whom you ask). Massad avoids accounting for the failure of Arab governments to protect their populations—whether dhimmis or citizens—even though the Arab League had forewarned the United Nations that they would not be held responsible for protecting Arab Jews following the creation of Israel…cont…

        http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/joseph-massads-ignorance-of-arab-jewry/

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 23, 2013, 2:33 pm

        Semi-literate ( wot?!)Glenda Slagg , eat your heart out, the Jewish Israeli population is now six million , 52% of whom are Mizrahi.

        The ethnic division of The Jewish population of Israel (including non Halackic Russians) as of 2009 is as follows.

        Ethnic Makeup of Jewish Population of Israel

        As of 2009, total Israeli population of 5,818,000.

        Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews : 2,721,000/ 50.2%

        Ashkenazi Jews : 2,767,000/ 47.5

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

        Since then Israel’s population has increased
        to six million, 52 % Mizrahi:

        The new statistics mean Israel has become the world’s biggest Jewish population centre, for the first time surpassing the United States, which has around 5.5 million Jews.

        The trend has been fed by emigration to Israel from the Jewish diaspora.

        Historian Tom Segev says;

        “But within five, seven or 10 years, you might be able to say that most Jews in the world live inside Israel and it will be legitimate to use the cliché that for the first time in 2,000 years, the Jews are in Israel.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/9959785/Israels-Jewish-population-reaches-symbolic-number-of-6-million.html

        Mizrahim in Israel Jews from Arab lands are gaining more and more influence in Israeli society.

        As Israel shifts from a “melting pot” model to one of multiculturalism, Israeli Mizrahim are bringing their once marginalized culture back to the center of Israeli life.

        “Mizrahi” is a socio-political term describing Jews from Arab and/or Muslim lands, including Jews from North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of the Caucasus.

        http://www.myjewishlearning.com/israel/Contemporary_Life/Society_and_Religious_Issues/mizrahim-israel.shtmlhttp://harif.org/

        Although Zionism was born and developed in Europe, up to 3.5 million Israelis trace their roots back to Arab lands – in fact, until the early 1990s, these Mizrahim and Sephardim, as they are known, made up the majority of Israel’s population.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/01/middle-east-israel-mizrahi

        The term ‘Jewish Arabs’ ignores the truth of Middle Eastern Jews’ unhappy history in Arab lands

        Communists and anti-Zionists have long argued on behalf of an “Arab Jewish” identity as a way of repudiating Jewish nationalism and justifying their participation in revolutionary politics. It presupposes that Arabs and Mizrahi Jews are natural allies, and that both are victims of Ashkenazim.
        To refer to “Jewish Arabs” is not only to imply that Zionism tore them away from their true homelands for the false lure of a Jewish state, it is to demean them by denying them their own sense of themselves and their unhappy history in Arab lands.
        The elephant in the room is surely this unhappy history in Arab lands, the oppression of the Jews by Arabs and the legacy of bitterness these Jews carry within them – an instinctive mistrust of Arabs, reflected in their tendency to support right-wing parties in Israel..cont.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/03/israel-arab-jewish-mizrahi

    • joecatron
      joecatron
      July 21, 2013, 3:26 am

      “what about the 18 million Alawites living in Turkey”

      Those are Alevis, not Alawites. They’re often conflated – sometimes emphatically! – but different.

      “The Arab Alawites are a part of a syncretic and highly secretive offshoot of Islam, thought to be open only to men and, in this case, an initiated few. The esoteric Alawite faith is considered by some to be close to Shiism. Recently, the Alawite identity has evolved; following the Islamic Revolution, Iran reached out to the Alawites, disseminating propaganda suggesting that they are really Shiites, in the hopes of justifying Shiite Iranian support for the Alawite-backed regime in Damascus.

      “The Alevi faith, on the other hand, is a relatively unstructured interpretation of Islam, open to both genders and, historically, even to non-Muslims. Alevism is unique among Muslim sects, as it does not segregate men and women, even during prayers. The Alevi faith is also syncretic in nature, mixing Islam and Sufism, as well as harboring respect for some traditions of Christianity and the Turks’ pre-Islamic religion, Shamanism. Unlike the Alawite faith, Alevism lacks written traditions and does not emphasize religious practice.

      “An additional key difference between the two nearly eponymous sects is that while the Alawite faith might be considered an offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Alevis are neither Sunnis nor Shiites.

      “Around eighty percent of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis and another fifteen to twenty percent are Shiites. Other groups, such the Alevis, make up such a relatively small portion of the Muslim faith that many are simply unaware of them. This leads to a fallacy: Many assume that because the Alevis are not Sunnis, they must be Shiites, confusing them with the similarly named Alawites. This myth is common even among some Muslims who assume that the Alawites and Alevis are identical.

      “Surprisingly, this misconception even exists among the Turkish Alevis. It is not unlikely to meet Alevis who, due to their lack of religious education because of their deep secularization in the twentieth century, assume that Alawite is just another name for Alevi.”

      http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/17/are-syrian-alawites-and-turkish-alevis-the-same/

      Turkey has between 10 and 20 million Alevis, depending on who you ask, but only a few hundred thousand Alawites.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 21, 2013, 3:54 am

        Joe,

        Alevis consider themselves a sufic branch of Alawites, as opposed to a branch of Turkish sunnism or Iranian shiaism.

      • Walid
        Walid
        July 21, 2013, 10:34 am

        ““The Arab Alawites are a part of a syncretic and highly secretive offshoot of Islam, thought to be open only to men and, in this case, an initiated few. The esoteric Alawite faith is considered by some to be close to Shiism. ” (Joe Catron)

        The religion is open to women although they are considered inferior and not subject to reincarnation because it’s believed they are deprived of reasoning souls. The Alawite (followers of Ali) Nusayris are Shia that believe God appeared in the body of Ali.

        Some Alawites were Sunni, like those that ruled Morocco in the 17th century.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 22, 2013, 2:57 am

        “The Alawite (followers of Ali) Nusayris are Shia that believe God appeared in the body of Ali.”

        Walid, you forgot to clarify:
        “Although most Shiites do not hold the view that Muhammad’s son-in-law Imam Ali was God incarnate”.
        Scroll down to ‘Shia’:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarnation

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero
        July 22, 2013, 2:18 pm

        Joe

        You forget to quote the most important part of globalpublicsquare’s “information” on “Alawites” and “Alevis”:

        Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy …

        In short, it’s not information, but AIPAC hasbara. It’s only for consumption by dummies. In the times of the Ottoman empire there was no national border between Turkey and Syria. Dspite the desires of the zionist lobby to change this Syrian and Turkish Alawites or Alevis feel very much to have the same religion.

        Note that Soner Cagaptay knows it: “This myth is common even among some Muslims who assume that the Alawites and Alevis are identical. Surprisingly, this misconception even exists among the Turkish Alevis.”

        So Turkish Alevis believe they have the same reigion as Syrian Alawites. What’s religion is all aout if not believes? The reason the Israel lobby wants to drive a wedge between Turkish Alevis and Syrian Alawites is that Turkish Alevis feel very much solidarity with the Syrian Alawite victims of the Wahhabi racism and that’s hampering Turkish/Zionist war efforts against Syria.

  6. piotr
    piotr
    July 20, 2013, 11:47 pm

    One of the most urgent and least discussed reasons to justify foreign military intervention in the Syrian civil war is not just the potential takeover of the country by the most fanatic of the Sunni rebel groups, but the potentially disastrous fate that awaits her Alawi or more accurately Nuseiri minority, once the Sunni rebels gain the upper hand.

    It is easy to see that this particular goal can be easily achieved by lifting the sanctions on Syrian government, which costs nothing. How it can be achieved by foreign military intervention is much less clear, given the sad history of occupation of Iraq when USA and allies could not control sectarian massacres, Military control of NATO in Kosovo is not encouraging either.

  7. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    July 21, 2013, 4:07 am

    Good call Phil, giving Nabil Al-Khowaiter, an official at Saudi Aramco, space here at MW to present the Saudi Arabian position on Palestine. I think most have no idea how reactionary the Saudi position is on the issue of justice for Palistinians.

    I have over the years been confused about where they stand. What stands out clearly in this article is that the Saudis are firmly part of international finance capital. Nabil makes a very good argument that a ME market economy based on greed will defeat the Palestinian movement for political equality. That is pretty much what the whole Oslo process was supposed to accomplish. It has been clear for years that the Saudis have been in agreement with the US and Israel on this point.

    What is confusing about Saudi politics is their support for Wahabi/Salafi movements throughout the world. This is the ultimate in crazed pan-Islamist movements. I notice that Nabil even denounces this idea here but being an official of Saudi Aramco there is no way he can really advocate opposition to the Salafis. For sure, this movement gave direct rise to Al Qaida. Whatever contradictions he espouses it is good to see him lay out this position in a way that is visible to all of here.

    • piotr
      piotr
      July 21, 2013, 8:58 am

      “What is confusing about Saudi politics …”

      The first point of confusion is the notion of politics in a country ruled by absolute monarchs and the clergy. On top level, in a monarchy you do not have “politics” but intrigues. On the level of middle class, you can say what you dare, which is not that much.

      One can argue that in a democratic country you have a plutocracy ruling through intrigues, and what we see as public statements enticing the population to vote for this or that is a theater called politics. Nevertheless, there is a possibility of creating and spreading ideas that can be accepted by the voting majority in spite of elite domination, and the elite is not monolithic and open to new ideas. However, Saudi public discourse is much narrower and so is the elite.

      From the little that I know, Aramco has its “corporate culture” that is open to the non-Salafist attitudes. They give positions of responsibility to women as well as scholarships. However, this is a corporate hierarchy, so it is not surprising that the bottom line of al-Khowaiter is that the best possible solution is to have some mighty external force that would impose order, including such nice touches like protecting minorities from extermination. Under that order, market economy will entice the population away from grim cycles of revenge and toward peaceful coexistence. I admit that it makes sense.

      But here, on XXI century Earth, it does not work. The mighty external force in Afghanistan did not entice the population toward peaceful pursuits and improved quality of life. There are many opinions why, and personally I disagree with most, but few dispute that it does not work. So as a business proposal to superiors (I imagine that this is how ideas are presented inside a corporation) al-Khowaiter should explain how a foreign force in Syria can avoid Afghanistan type of FUBAR. Otherwise this should go to “Trash”.

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      July 22, 2013, 12:38 pm

      Touche, ToivoS!

      The only credible reason I’ve heard of Saudi support for Wahabi/Salafi movements is that by funding the schools, they have bought the silence of the Saudi clerics regarding the corruption of the Saudi royal family. A further benefit is that holy wars elsewhere can draw some of their most extreme young men abroad to be eliminated as cannon-fodder.

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