How to Engage the Syrians
The Alawites are smart, but they are “street-smart”. This was a sweeping sectarian statement, but the point behind it remains valid; the gang of thugs who is in power in
Once they understand their limitations, the regime can behave really nicely, as demonstrated by the enduring peace of sorts along the Golan. But this peace comes at a price, since the Alawite military regime’s hold on power is internally weak, continuously challenged by the country’s merchant class, which happens to be the Sunni majority.
So the regime is in a quandary; now that it has achieved a peace of sorts with
Should it cut military budgets, and therefore reform the economy? But this will reinforce the merchant class, in which the Alawites are under-represented. Reforms are therefore out the question, since any reforms will weaken their hand, and fortify their enemies.
Can it go to war with
Poor Man’s Orwellian Dynamic
The regime has a third option; a poor man’s Orwellian dynamic of exporting the tensions it is storing internally, without completely destroying its neighbours. Much like a Pyromaniac Fireman...
Instead of Orwell’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace”,
At the smaller scale of the
But in this dynamic, Bachar’s
Then again, even Iran itself may not be able to stay the course...
With this in mind,