Whatever that was in yesterday’s image, the library or not, this is definitely the library of our new University of Economics and Business.
Looks slightly confusing? Well, a good match for today’s rant. Let’s get started:
Syria is a predominantly muslim country with substantial Christian minorities. Different factions of muslims are present, a Sunni majority (as in Saudi Arabia), a Shiha minority (as in Iran), a small minority of Alawites (dominant nowhere, but also present in Turkey). Suprisingly the ruling class is dominantly Alawite and so is the family of president Bashar al-Assad. There are other small muslim factions and all sorts of Chritian churches. Syria has been a melting pot since long before the Roman Empire. It has been contested between ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Persia, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Parthia, ancient Byzance, early Islam, European crusaders, medieval Turkey, the Brits and … well, I may have forgotten a few.
Today Syria is contested again. The Ba’athist regime traditionally had close ties to the Soviet Union, and today Russia is still on their side. It’s a natural alliance, because the US have always sided with Israel, and for the Russians, Syria is their only ally in the Mediterranean offering them a Navy base.
Israel is, of course, party in the conflict, but not openly. A few bombs here, a sortie there, but other than that they seem to strive for a low profile.
Turkey, traditionally on good terms with Israel, has lost Syria when the Ottoman Empire went belly-up after World War I. An increasingly dictatorial Turkish government seems to mingle in the conflict in interesting ways. On one side the oil produced and sold by ISIS was clearly sold via Turkey, and Turkey seems to also have provided weapons and support to the so-called Islamic State. There may be some ideological overlap between the ruling Turkish party AKP and militant Islam, but there is also Erdogan’s hate agains the Kurds, an ethnic group spread out over Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. On the other side Turkey pays lip service to their NATO partners, who officially fight ISIS, and therefore Turkey officially fights ISIS as well.
The Kurds see the weakness of Iraq and Syria as a chance to achieve factual autonomy (if not complete independence), and although there are competeing Kurdish factions, they are one of the major forces against radiacl Islam. The US and Turkey are in close alliance, but while the Turks bomb the Kurds, the US most of the time support them. Everybody else, Europe included, bows before the Dictator in Turkey and calls them Terrorists.
The Russians play a pretty open game, they support Assad. They also leave the Kurds alone, because an independent Kurdish region in Syria is a fact and it does not seem to hurt Assad, to the contrary, at least for the moment both, the Kurds and the government, have a common enemy, the Islamic State and all the other “moderate” rebels.
The US game is largely opaque as Israel’s. World politics drives them to support their most dire enemies, the radical muslim factions, the offspring of Al-Quaida. Basically the West sides with those who send their killers into our cities, and all that is done in the name of fighting Terrorism.
Turkey also claims to fight Terrorism. They have been stung by a few terror attacks lately, and when they don’t accuse Erdogan’s former ally, the preacher Muhammet Fethullah Gülen and his so-called “movement”, they of course accuse the Kurds. The latest twist is, that Erdogan warns against a union of Kurdish “Terrorists” in Syria and ISIS, a rather bizarre idea, but in a country with tight control of the Internet, in a country where simple opposition against the increasingly authoritarian government is declared “Terrorism” by law, even bizarre twists of reality seem presentable to an indoctrinated people. Remember how the Jews invented both Capitalism and Communism in an attack against the Aryan race? Well, it’s that kind of logic we see at work here.
Basically the Syrian crisis is an overlay of two conflicts. The larger conflict is one between the US and Russia. It was triggered by “NATO expansion”, the “US-sponsored” coup in Ukraine and the Russian reaction, also known as “aggression”, in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. You can subscribe to any of those “truths”, but unless you’re privy to secret information only available from US and Russian secret services, there is no way to decide but to choose a belief.
The second and smaller-scale conflict is that between the traditional rivals for middle eastern dominance, namely Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. All of them sometimes side with or behind the scenes cooperate with Israel. All but Iran, Israel included, hate Assad with a passion. They do so for different reasons, but they do.
Confusing? You bet.