Saturday, February 15, 2014

Interesting piece on regime-minorities relations in Syria

An interesting piece on regime-minorities relations in Syria was was published recently: "The early reversal on minorities in Syria" by Yahya Alaous for The Syrian Observer. It has some very interesting arguments, which deserve some further discussion.

The author argues that the regime might turn on the minorities (not the Alawites of course) once their service in the civil war is not any longer needed because their freedom threatens the regime's authority. Here a comparison is drawn to the war of Saddam Husain against Kuwait, his former ally against Iran. Even if I don't think the Syrian minorities can be compared to oil-rich Kuwait by any means, the main argument is definately valuable:
What was accepted reluctantly by the regime in the past because of considerations concerning the minorities will no longer acceptable in the same way because the regime has enough burdens. So the regime will not hesitate to alleviate the burdens whenever it can—and it seems now is the opportunity enabling the regime to proceed with a reversal of its approach to minorities.
Yahya Alaous determines a change of the minorities-narrative by the regime:
At the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the regime tried to represent those who supported it, including the minorities, as patriots.  The policy adopted by the regime pushed the members of the minorities to adopt its speech and appear in the media as defenders of the regime. [The goal was making] the regime appear to have a complementary relationship with the minorities, with the regime appearing as their protector in the eyes of the international community, a saying that the Syrian regime has been repeating for so long.
Nevertheless, the regime did not succeed in turning these minorities into active combatant militias on the ground, which could have protected the regime or created a balance with the forces of the revolution. But this does not negate the involvement of hundreds of members of minorities in combatant militias on the side of the regime such as the “Army of National Defense” and others. The regime, unable to bush minorities further, made his intention of bringing the sectarian militias such as Hezbollah and Abu al Fadl al Abbas very urgent. Soon the regime’s media began to propagate the idea of minorities being in the cause of self-defense and supporting the regime rather than protecting it, which means their role was transformed from protecting the regime to protecting their areas. Thus, the regime has exempted itself from the future consequences if it manages to survive. 
Read the full text, it's definitely food for thought:  "The early reversal on minorities in Syria" by Yahya Alaous 

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