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Sunday, October 24, 2021


A street in Douma, east of DamascusSyria, 2015

Syria is a mess. Haven't heard anything coherent for a while. Oh, there's a bits a pieces, but seldom do I see an overall picture of the situation, well, at least one short enough for my limited attention span. I'm not going to spend hours digging into it mostly because I am not that curious. However, I am a little curious and today I found this succinct summary of the situation on Gatestone Institute.

Excerpt from Syria: Geopolitical Tragedy by Amir Taheri:

The tragedy that has claimed almost half a million lives and made nearly half of the population refugees or displaced persons wasn't caused by a defective constitution and won't be concluded with a constitution dreamed by Pedersen and his associates.

The truth is that Syria has ceased to have effective existence as a nation-state. At the same time, however, it cannot be regarded as a classical "ungoverned territory" because different chunks of it are under some measure of governance by foreign powers and their local surrogates and allies.

That makes Syria a complex geopolitical problem that cannot be solved with pie-in-the-sky legalistic gambits.

Today, Syrian territory is under some measure of control by five different players.

One segment is run by Russia, partly through private security companies, with the remnants of President Bashar al-Assad's regime as its local façade. Another segment is controlled by Turkey and its local Muslim Brotherhood allies. The United States and some NATO allies control a third segment with support from local ethnic Kurds. The Islamic Republic of Iran and its Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese "foreign legions" control a fourth chunk. The last chunk is held by the remnants of the ISIS and former foes turned allies among anti-Assad groups.

. . .

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. 

The Islamic Revolution in Iran happened in 1978, which probably explains why Amir stopped being the editor-in-chief.

Half a million lives is a considerable loss. That's almost 3% of the population.

I wonder if cutting the country up into five smaller fiefdoms might help. The old English guy's video on multiculturalism kind of explains why Assad was such a hard ass - it was the only way he could hold the country together. Not quite sure what happened. Was it ISIS or some other outside power that upset the apple cart, or did he suddenly become soft? Not that it matters now. Right now it is a battlefield for a proxy war between the USA and Russia, not that we'll ever admit it.

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