Syria and the Will of the People

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Sertorio
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by Sertorio » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:55 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:37 am

(...)The imposed rule by foreignors has never necessarily enabled those being ruled to love one another. It also means that the subject people/peoples become conditioned to all of the big decisions affecting their lives being made by others - often in remote capitals. Decisions they normally have no say in. It means later that when the grip of imperial control is finally removed the now emancipated subject peoples are utterly unused to governing themselves and are therefore clueless in terms of accumulated political wisdom(...)
Extreme oversimplification. Ancient peoples - as Syrian/Iraqi are - are quite capable of running their own affairs, even if they choose to do it differently from us. Syrians living in government held territory - the majority of the population - are as diverse as the population as a whole, minus maybe Kurds. And they accept Bashir al-Assad and have even participated in the recent elections (where opposition candidates were allowed). Bashir will have to liberalize the regime if he wants to reunify the country in peace, but I think he is prepared to do so. All you need is expelling unwelcome foreigners, like Americans and Turks, and stop Israeli aggression.

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Sertorio
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by Sertorio » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:41 am

EllenS wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:21 am

Eventually, Syria will be partitioned and dismembered, along the lines of what we see emerging today. It's only a matter of time. Ditto for Iraq.
I'm sure Israel would like that and will even promote it. But that doesn't mean it is going to happen...

neverfail
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by neverfail » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:33 pm

EllenS wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:21 am
Neverfail, you are correct again. One can never judge what people in a country are like by the small remnant that study in Western Universities. They are usually part of the elite, and are on their best behavior because they want to emigrate. The slaughterhouse they leave behind tells a different story.

During the French Mandate, a European wandering around Syria (can't remember his name, but this is a historical account) talked to Syrians from every subgroup of the population. He concluded that Syria had no future as a united political entity because these people all seemed to hate each other with a passion. There was no common concept of Syrianness among them. Was he right?

Only a Sunni could unite the Arab part of Syria (the Kurds want independence). And that Sunni would have to be secular but with respect for the religious tradition, in order to win support from the religious Sunnis. He would also have to convince the minorities - especially Alawites - that the government and army would protect them from being slaughtered by the Sunnis, in spite of the fact that Sunnis would make up 80% of the national army. Does this sound likely? Bashar Assad and his ilk are living on borrowed time. No one, even the Alawites, want him as their ruler.

Eventually, Syria will be partitioned and dismembered, along the lines of what we see emerging today. It's only a matter of time. Ditto for Iraq.
Once again, thanks Ellen.

Very interesting that observation made during the era of French mandate. Might I digress a little?

Lebanon was part of that mandate (the former Ottoman province of Syria). Frankly I don't see how France deserved that honour as there were to my knowledge no French troops involved in the WW1 military drive from Egypt through Palestine to Damascus - entirely a British Empire column spearheaded by the Australian Light Horse brigade (and supported across the Jordan River by a collaborating column of Arab irregular cavilry led by the Englishman Major T E Laurence (Laurence of Arabia).. But France and the UK were wartime allies so it seems that the Brits decided to toss them a bone to placate French honour.

In any case, Lebanon is home to the same collection of peoples (minus Alawites) as Sytria proper but in a different pro-rata mix. In 1946 the French gave independence to Lebanon as a seperate national sovereignty from Syria because in what had been previously the southwestern corner of their mandate they discovered that if they drew the international border where it is now they created a state with a majority Christian population. It was only a bare majority but in politics a majority is still a majority.

Of all the peoples within their Syria mandate they found the Christians were by far the most pro-French. So the intention was to carve out an enclave in the eastern Mediterranean that would serve as a future local base for continuing French power and influence in the region. Despite the then raw, recent humuliation of memories of the recent Nazi German occupation of their country (very likely intensified by it); under Charles de Gaulle's post WW2 leadeship concern for French great power ambitions (the glory of France?) must have been paramount there.

In Lebanon they even developed a status-quo agreement that regardless of who won an election the Prime Minister had to be a Christian; the deputy PM a Sunni; the Foreign Minister a Druze and so on reflecting the demographic size relationship of the component groups. The arrangement broke down in 1974 with the resultant outbreak of civil war - which lasted until a peace deal was arranged in 1990. if that civil war (a dress rehersal for the one now taking place in Syria?) did not result in the same pro-rata of casualties and refugees and the country rebounded in peace more quickly that Syria is likely to then you can thank the fact that Lebanon is a far more mountanous country than Syria. The Christians in particular have their mountain strongholds in the range adjacent to the coast and once armed and on a war footing they are almost impossible to dislodge.

Because their political class (resulting from that deal) is now seen as unacceptasbly corrupt Lebanon is now in danger of plunging back into civil war. I hope and pray that it does not happen.

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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by neverfail » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:14 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:41 am
EllenS wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:21 am

Eventually, Syria will be partitioned and dismembered, along the lines of what we see emerging today. It's only a matter of time. Ditto for Iraq.
I'm sure Israel would like that and will even promote it. But that doesn't mean it is going to happen...
I agree with Ellen that it will most likely happen. It will likely happen even without Israeli machanations to cause it to happen.

Israel has something that none of its neithbours have; strength. I am not talking about military strength (though Israel has that too) but the sort of strength that comes from a national unity driven by a common loyalty and shared ideals.

It is sharply distinct from the contrived unity imposed by power.

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Sertorio
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by Sertorio » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:33 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:14 pm

Israel has something that none of its neithbours have; strength. I am not talking about military strength (though Israel has that too) but the sort of strength that comes from a national unity driven by a common loyalty and shared ideals.
Yes? How well do they fit?

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Jim the Moron
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by Jim the Moron » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:37 am

EllenS wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:40 pm
Thanks Neverfail,

Your account is a good one, based on historical facts, not wishful thinking. The Christians made a huge mistake after the civil war ended in 1990. They should have partitioned Lebanon and seceded. It was clear they could no longer dominate over the Muslim majority, and were mainly interested in making money and having fun. In the MidEast, that is not a recipe for survival.

Instead they plunged back into a Muslim-dominated state, where the Christian president is just a fig-leaf, now controlled completely by Hezbollah and Iran. Very sad. The Christian professional and business class is emigrating from the country in huge numbers. Pretty soon, they won't even be able to sustain a small Christian mini-state under French/US/Israel protection, which was a possibility 30 years ago. The disappearance of the only Christian population in the Arab world with civil equality, from the cradle of Christianity, would indeed be sad. But....like the Palestinians and Alawites, they are a small group that has overplayed its hand. This is what payback looks like.

The Europeans should get their nose out of the Levant altogether. Macron is the latest blunderer who is trying to perpetuate the Iranian domination of Lebanon, under the cover of French style and panache. It doesn't fool anyone in the region, and it won't help Macron in French politics. Another European imperialist trying to dictate regional outcomes in a region they don't control and don't understand.

As Neverfail and I have agreed, social cohesion and group loyalty, as well as group talents, will determine the outcome of the conflicts of the MidEast, not European or even American, or Russian, dictates. Clever leaders can bring in these outside powers to achieve local goals, but it's the local leaders themselves and their followers who will determine the outcomes.

I think it is time for Bibi Netanyahu to retire for Israeli internal reasons. But, it must be said, he has played the chessboard magnificently. Drawing on his external assets to complement Israeli strengths and to offset its weaknesses. Oh contraire, has been the Palestinian experience. Murderous, overconfident, blundering leaders who cannot face the reality they have created for themselves. No one is to blame for their predicament other than themselves. They had all the advantages in the world, and pissed it all away because they couldn't tolerate a teeny, tiny Jewish state in the Levant that defeated the mighty Muslim armies and populations. The humiliation was too great for them to bear, so they continue....until this day....trying to reverse the results of the 1948 (not 1967) war. Meanwhile, everyone else has now moved on. Including the Arab rulers. This is the definition of a historic loser.

Yep. ". . . the Palestinian experience. Murderous, overconfident, blundering leaders who cannot face the reality they have created for themselves. No one is to blame foir their predicament other than themselves." (Ellens)

And - "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." (Abba Eban)

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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by dagbay » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:53 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:33 am
neverfail wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:14 pm

Israel has something that none of its neithbours have; strength. I am not talking about military strength (though Israel has that too) but the sort of strength that comes from a national unity driven by a common loyalty and shared ideals.
Yes? How well do they fit?

Image
Sertorio,
They fit quite well, although many of those in the picture are young and probably very few of them are Israelis. There is a diaspora tradition of orthodox Jewish youth going to Israeli Yeshiva's to study for a number of years. Many of those eventually prefer to live in Israel later and at some point become an integral part of the Orthodox group of Israelis. Overall the Orthodox Jews in Israel are internally considered by most Israelis as "leechers" since they often work off-the-books and get payments from government social programs on account of their low income and numerous children. However some members of this group work in standard settings, serve in the military or in equivalent social frameworks which respect their religious concerns and become normative citizens to whatever extent they wish. They serve an important roll in Israel anchoring the country to its religious core and attracting diaspora Jews for belief rather than economic or persecution reasons. Every now and then depending on Israeli-politics and coalition formation there is a push to reduce the social benifits that this group gets in order to push them to integrate better into the economy. However, as long as the Yeshivot and Kollels (the religious frameworks of study and financing) enjoy generous contributions from abroad these efforts will have limited success.

As for the foregoing discussion about the Will of the people, I agree with the conclusion which emerged between EllenS and Neverfail, that group identity and cohesion will eventually determine the borders in the ME. Having said that, I would like to suggest that it does not necessarily mean that these separate "countries" or as Dr. M. Kedar prefers to call them "Emirates", could not cooperate, and as we can see from recent developments even with Israel. Tribalism lives in the ME.
I'd rather be diving or flying alas for now I am on terra firma.

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Sertorio
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by Sertorio » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:49 am

dagbay wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:53 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:33 am
neverfail wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:14 pm

Israel has something that none of its neithbours have; strength. I am not talking about military strength (though Israel has that too) but the sort of strength that comes from a national unity driven by a common loyalty and shared ideals.
Yes? How well do they fit?

Image
Sertorio,
They fit quite well, although many of those in the picture are young and probably very few of them are Israelis. There is a diaspora tradition of orthodox Jewish youth going to Israeli Yeshiva's to study for a number of years. Many of those eventually prefer to live in Israel later and at some point become an integral part of the Orthodox group of Israelis. Overall the Orthodox Jews in Israel are internally considered by most Israelis as "leechers" since they often work off-the-books and get payments from government social programs on account of their low income and numerous children. However some members of this group work in standard settings, serve in the military or in equivalent social frameworks which respect their religious concerns and become normative citizens to whatever extent they wish. They serve an important roll in Israel anchoring the country to its religious core and attracting diaspora Jews for belief rather than economic or persecution reasons. Every now and then depending on Israeli-politics and coalition formation there is a push to reduce the social benifits that this group gets in order to push them to integrate better into the economy. However, as long as the Yeshivot and Kollels (the religious frameworks of study and financing) enjoy generous contributions from abroad these efforts will have limited success.

As for the foregoing discussion about the Will of the people, I agree with the conclusion which emerged between EllenS and Neverfail, that group identity and cohesion will eventually determine the borders in the ME. Having said that, I would like to suggest that it does not necessarily mean that these separate "countries" or as Dr. M. Kedar prefers to call them "Emirates", could not cooperate, and as we can see from recent developments even with Israel. Tribalism lives in the ME.
Dagbay,
What I have been driving at is that neither Israelis/Jews are angels, nor Arabs/Muslims are devils. There are great people and murderous fanatics on both sides. Peace in the ME requires a level of tolerance that neither tribe seems to be able to muster. The best path to that peace requires for Jews and Palestinians (West Bankers only) to live together in a non-exclusive Israel where the Jewish majority would welcome the Arab minority, and the Palestinian minority would learn to sincerely cooperate with the majority. I sincerely believe this is not only feasible but also not all that difficult to achieve. But Israel would have to become a secular state with freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Which would be guaranteed by the highly developed Jewish majority. Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists might try to prevent it happening, but I think the sane majority on both sides would prevail.

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armchair_pundit
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by armchair_pundit » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:30 am

And of course, if it were done the "Right Way This TimeTM", Marxism would be the perfect choice for this fantasy state?


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dagbay
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Re: Syria and the Will of the People

Post by dagbay » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:11 pm

Sertorio,
I take issue with your position;
"What I have been driving at is that neither Israelis/Jews are angels, nor Arabs/Muslims are devils. There are great people and murderous fanatics on both sides." - in principle you can make a statement of this type for any two opposing groups of people BUT while Arabs elevate their numerous murderers to high honors and pay salaries to their families, teach their legacy to kindergarten kids and encourage followers, Jews condemne such rare offenders of human decency and incarcerate them. Drawing the equivalence as you did is offensive to the truth.
"Peace in the ME requires a level of tolerance that neither tribe seems to be able to muster." - No, Again the equivalence that you draw is false and offensive. Arabs were given ample opportunities to reach a settlement but refused each and every generous offer for they want it All. They will end with nothing.
"The path to that peace requires for Jews and Palestinians (West Bankers only) to live together in a non-exclusive Israel where the Jewish majority would welcome the Arab minority, and the Palestinian minority would learn to sincerely cooperate with the majority. I sincerely believe this is not only feasible but also not all that difficult to achieve. But Israel would have to become a secular state with freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Which would be guaranteed by the highly developed Jewish majority. Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists might try to prevent it happening, but I think the sane majority on both sides would prevail." - We've been through that already.... Most Israelis disagree and their position is born of the Arab violence and their practice of Taqquia. Given that the Arabs are very welcome in Euroba formally known as Europe and that the youth are migrating to that part of the world and to south America in large numbers even during the Wuhan virus lockdown I suggest that you must be dreaming.
I'd rather be diving or flying alas for now I am on terra firma.

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