Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Civil War in Syria
I have trouble imagining a good outcome to this struggle. The Syrian government is thuggish, yes, and the economy stagnant, but what do the rebels have to offer? So far as I can tell, they seem mainly to represent Sunni Islam and rage over the lack of economic opportunity. I don't see much hope for democracy in Syria, a paranoid society riven by ethnic and religious tensions. So the likely outcome of a rebel victory would be a Sunni-dominated autocracy with restive Shi'ite and Christian minorities, sort of a mirror image of what is developing in Iraq. Is that worth the thousands of lives being lost? Sensing victory, the rebels are not likely to back down any time soon. But the government also shows no signs of bending. If this is fought out to the end, that will mean great slaughter amidst the ruins of Damascus and Aleppo. But how could the two sides negotiate? What would they even talk about? It looks bad.