Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘minority Alawi sect

This historical wrong-timing calamity mistake: Late Hafez Assad troops crosses Lebanon borders in 1976

This historical error of judgement by Syria late Hafez Assad in 1976: Lebanese are still paying its dear price, 50 years later.

The Lebanese “progressive” movement of political parties, allied with Palestine Liberation Organization, were massed in the town of Dhour Shouweir and ready to enter Bikfaya and descend on Jounieh (supposedly a stronghold of the Christian militias forces).

The US ambassador hurried to Damascus to convince Hafez to cross the borders and prevent the defeat of the Christian militias.

The US and Israel gave Syria the green light and dangled all kinds of opportunities for Assad to move quickly, a one-life opportunity to take control of a big chunk of Lebanon.

The “Leftist” alliance needed barely 3 weeks to end their plan of attack.

Hafez didn’t give them that reprieve and ordered them to stop the attack.

Surely they resisted the onslaught of the Syrian army and delayed for 6 months the Syrian army to deploy.

But the “Christian” militias were saved and given fresh opportunities to resume their traditional treacherous activities before and after Lebanon independence of begging the colonial powers and Israel to continue their international support and weapon transfer.

The “Christian” leaders have always been the confirmed stooges to the colonial powers, on the faked and untenable assumption that their survival is linked to the firm colonial support. Though previous experience and successive later ones proved to be wrong and the colonial powers didn’t give any weight for the minority Christian forces, militarily and politically

So, what convinced Hafez, this level headed and patient leader, to cross in the wrong timing?

It was easy to surmise that in critical periods, the clan and minority spirit overcome the general concept of unity of the nation.

A minority “Muslim” Alawi sect in power in Syria, coming to the rescue of a minority Maronite “christian” sect that was in power a year ago, before the start of Lebanon civil war.

Kind of minorities in power rescuing one another in critical junctions.

Obviously, Hafez was Not about to state this inclination and he proclaimed that the decision was taken months ahead of US demand to cross the border.

Israel agreed for the Syrian army to cross Lebanon borders with easy conditions: that the army stay clear from Lebanon southern borders with Israel (a “buffer zone” of about 40 km deep) and Not to transfer quality weapons that might constitute threat to Israel security.

Consequently, the Lebanese christian militias had an easy propaganda to resume their cooperation with Israel: Hafez was guaranteed a life-long power over Syria and is Not independent in his foreign decisions and affairs.

This historical decision to cross the border, 3 weeks before taming the christian militias, exacerbated the situation and let the civil war continue till 1992.

From 1976 til 1984, the Christian forces harassed militarily the Syrian troops in location they had a majority population: They forgot that it was the Syrian troops that saved them from oblivion.

The Lebanese civilians paid the heaviest of prices: mass transfer to newly created sectarian cantons.

Syrian controlled Lebanon til 2005 before withdrawing its troops. From 1991 and on, military activities by Christian forces against the Syrian stopped since the world community agreed on a peaceful transition, but street demonstrations flurried now and then.

There were No Victors in this protracted civil war and the militia “leaders” of all religious sects returned to power and they rule Lebanon til now.

Since 2001, Lebanon has been declining economically, financially, politically and administratively: transformed into an anomie system where every deputy owns a basic business in Lebanon and swap shares without paying a dime in the transactions.

No public institutions function normally: No public electricity, potable water, polluted rivers and sea, and one third of the families relying on public services paychecks.

Israel also committed a strategic historical mistake by crossing Lebanon borders in 1982, entered Beirut, and forced the PLO to vacate Lebanon.

Since then, Israel had no valid lame excuses of trespassing the borders to attack Palestinian incursions within its borders. Lebanon national movement to resist and kick out Israel occupation was constituted and Hezbollah was organized after Islamic Iran came to power in 1979.

Israel could no longer rely on the Palestinians refugees to destabilize Lebanon society.

Israel is currently on the defensive and unable to pre-empt any war on Lebanon, since its defeat in the 2006 war.

Wrong timing is accelerated by faulty and difformed idea-fix passions.

What’s going on in Syria?  What is “Moratorium on dictators and absolute monarchs”?

Suddenly, since this Friday, mass upheavals are spreading in Syria; from the city of Daraa by the borders with Jordan, to Banyas, Tartous, Homs, and way to the north in the Kurdish region.  Last week, there were a couple of shy demonstrations localized in Damascus demanding the liberation of political prisoners.  Four demonstrators were killed in Daraa.

President Bashar Assad sent two official delegates to pay condolence to the bereaved families of the dead citizens in Dera3a.  As they finished their visit, the two delegates had three more casualties on hand. Worse, internal security agents rounded up a few adolescents, less than 13 of age, for painting on walls “Down with Bashar“.

The youths were tortured, finger nails pulled, and savagely beaten.  Bashar demanded the release of the youths, but they had to be hospitalized first before handing them to their families.  By the time the tortured youths were returned to their families, the revolt was in full swing.

The Syrian government blamed “infiltrators” disguised in internal security outfit who shot live ammunition on peaceful marchers.  The infiltrators also burned the headquarter of the one-party Baath regime and the court of justice in the city of Dar3a.  You have to admit that the “infiltrators” are awfully skilled:  The government security specialists have proven to be no match to infiltrators.

The President Bashar Assad had decreed last week the liberation of most prisoners, political and non political, those over 70 years, and the terminally sick…Maybe it was just a promise?

As all promises that the people have been hearing for 4 decades? I guess Bashar forgot to mention that the political system needed to be reformed and that the Assad regime, father to son, since 1971, has to make rooms for democratic succession and away from a “one-party” rule.

Syria has grown to over 20 million in population.  Amid the turmoil in the Middle-East, Syria of the Assad socialist regime managed to bring sort of stability and security: it maintained a steady currency and invested in decent infrastructure and schooling for all.

Invariably, oligarchic regimes ends up getting involved in widespread corruptions and considering the State Treasury as family holdings.

Syria is described as a “steadfast” regime against the meddling of western powers in its internal affairs and in Lebanon; and Syria is one of the last regimes bordering Israel that didn’t sign any “peace treaty” with the enemy Israel.

Obviously, Israel occupies the Golan Heights since 1967 and the USA refuses to pressure Israel to return occupied lands according to the UN resolution.

Syria waged a good war in 1973 against Israel with the coordination of Egypt, and managed to reconquer the Golan Heights, only to lose it again when Sadat of Egypt agreed on a cease-fire without the consultation with Syria and the US transporting military hardware to Israel by “an air bridge“. Since 1973, the occupied Golan Heights is one of the most peaceful region:  Syria never attempted to disturb the peace!

Syria of Hafez Assad, the father who grabbed power by a military coup in 1971, sided with Iran of Khomeini against his nemesis Saddam Hussein of Iraq (another leader of the Baath faction) in the decade long war (1980-1989).  Syria also cooperated with the US alliance and send an army to kick Saddam out of Kuwait in 1991.

In return, the US gave Syria mandated power over Lebanon that lasted till 2005, after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri PM.

Bashar succeeded to his father in 2000.  Israel unilaterally retreated from south Lebanon in 2000.  Instead of announcing a timetable for the retreat of Syrian troops from Lebanon in 2000, the new Syrian President got immersed resolving side problems and affirming his power.

The Assad regime is based on the minority Alawi sect (15% of population), a kind of Shia sect. The Alawis got most of the sensitive positions in the army and internal security system, and thus are in the hands of the extended family members.

The Syria Baath party made alliance with a few political parties for the Parliament, but there is a deep sense that the structure of this regime is fundamentally an oligarchic system.

The Syrian regime masterfully kept diplomatic dialogue with the US  Administrations and reached many tacit agreements in cooperating with the US in Iraq, even though Syria is included in the “black list” as a “rogue State” not entirely supporting the US policies.

Syria maintained a strong alliance with Iran for three decades and currently extended firm alliance with Turkey.  The regimes of Mubarak of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan kept the squeeze on Syria by orders from the USA for two decades.  Syria had close ties with Libya of Qadhafi and is still supporting Qadhafi with jet pilots, until the “No Fly Zone” was established.

Two days ago, Syria announced its support to the expeditionary Saudi forces in Bahrain on the premises that these forces were legitimate since they were demanded by the King of Bahrain!  In the meanwhile, Iran vehemently denounced these incursions into Bahrain and is against Qadhafi.  Thus, Syria flaunted Iran’s policies in the region twice in less than two days.

Syria is wooing the alliance of Egypt and Saudi Arabia in order to ward off the current mass Arab uprising everywhere.  Maybe Syria made a hasty move away from Iran before securing its internal stability with new political reforms.

It is obvious that no foreign alliances can withstand the new wrath of the people for everlasting regimes of dictators, one-party regimes, and absolute monarchies.  Lebanon youths have been demonstrating for a secular political structure.  The monarchy in Morocco is witnessing mass upheavals in 40 cities.  Time for outraged is not going to subside any time soon.

People in the Arab States are clear in their demands: “We want a Moratorium on dictators and absolute monarchs.  We want to try democratic systems for a change.  We demand a restoration of our dignity as individual citizens with full human rights…”

Note 1:  The growing squeeze on Bashar al Assad cannot be effective militarily.  The regime might be ripe to collapse financially, but its economy is self-sufficient for basic survival foodstuff.  The irony is that the regime will destroy whatever economic development it managed to install in the last three decades, just to maintain its hold on power.

Note 2: This was my first article on the Syria problems, and it was followed by a dozen other posts as the situation unfolded. Mind you that in the first phase of the uprising, the Syrian wanted to emulate the other Tahrir Squares (Liberation) in Egypt and Tunisia: Out with the dictator regime that lasted 40 years!


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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