Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Assad sought Israeli neutrality on formation of Alawite enclave

As part of an ongoing plan to create an Alawite enclave out of areas marked in yellow and purple (and the light green areas between them) on the map above, Bashar al-Assad asked Israel not to stand in the way if such an enclave were created.
A mediator – a well-known diplomatic figure – is understood to have been asked by Assad to approach the former Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, late last year with a request that Israel not stand in the way of attempts to form an Alawite state, which could have meant moving some displaced communities into the Golan Heights area.
A source aware of the talks said that Lieberman had not rebuffed the approach but had first sought information on the whereabouts of a missing Israeli airman shot down over Lebanon, Ron Arad, as well as three Israeli soldiers captured in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub in 1982, and the remains of Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy intelligence officer who was caught and executed in Damascus.
The Syrian military's recent advances on the battlefield appear to have reduced the urgency in preparations for the collapse of the Syrian state. But nonetheless, some Alawites fear the war has already irreversibly changed Syria – and that some communities can no longer co-exist.
So long as Assad doesn't seek to resettle rebels in the Golan Heights - he could move them east instead - I doubt that Israel would get involved in this.

For those who are not aware, Alwaites are an offshoot of Shia Islam and the Assad family belongs to them.

Still, the entire story (which actually deals mainly with efforts to make the city of Homs part of the Alawite enclave)  reminds us once again of the futility of trying to combine ethnically distinct tribes into a nation state. What we are seeing in Syria is the disintegration of a state that was artificially created by France and Britain as part of the Treaty of San Remo after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. We could yet see other artificial states similarly cobbled together from various ethnic groups - Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq all come to mind - fall apart in the future as well. Those states (with the exception of Lebanon where factions have constantly been at war for years) were or are held together for nearly a century by strongmen. Once the strongmen are no more, the state falls apart. Is the world better or worse off without states like that? That's not an easy question to answer. The answer depends on whether the ethnic tribes - who are unlikely to leave each other alone - can at least be contained in their own areas.

Read the whole thing

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home