Monday, August 6, 2012

'Syria’s Crumbling Pluralism', by Kapil Komireddi

By Elizabeth Kendal

I highly recommend the following article. The fact that it was published in the New York Times is significant. Might the Western media be starting to wake up?

Syria’s Crumbling Pluralism
By Kapil Komireddi, an Indian journalist, has written from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Published: August 3, 2012

Excerpts:

"Syria’s pluralistic society, which once rose above sectarian identity in a region often characterized by a homicidal assertion of religious belief, is now faced with civil disintegration and ethnic cleansing."

"A churchgoing Syrian told me that he used to see himself primarily as 'Syrian' and that religious identity, in political terms, was an idea that never occurred to him — until an opposition gang attacked his family earlier this year in Homs. 'It’s a label they pinned on us,' he said. 'If their revolution is for everyone, as they keep insisting it is, why are Christians being targeted? It is because what they are waging is not a struggle for freedom, and it’s certainly not for everyone.'"

"The seeming indifference of the international community to the worsening condition of Syria’s religious minorities — and the near total absence of censure of the opposition forces by the Western governments arrayed against Assad — is breeding a bitter anti-Americanism among many secular Syrians who see the United States aligning itself with Saudi Arabia, the fount of Wahhabism, against the Arab world’s most resolutely secular state."

"A year and a half after the insurrection began, Assad’s forces are exhausted and dispirited — but there is no sign yet of a simultaneous mass uprising in any of the major cities. Instead, rebel fighters on Saudi payroll launch coordinated attacks on high-value targets, the Syrian Army retaliates with disproportionate force, and videos of the ensuing devastation are posted on the Internet."

"Washington is aware of the scale of the problem. As early as June 2011, Robert Stephen Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, briefed his counterparts in Damascus about Al Qaeda’s penetration of the opposition forces. By still ploughing ahead with its support for Saudi Arabia’s effort to destabilize Syria, Washington, far from assisting Israel or weakening Iran, is helping to fuel a humanitarian crisis that will come back to haunt the United States."