The battle over Qusayr, and now Homs, draw a clear conclusion if one looks at who is battling whom. In the last few months, Reuters just reported, Assad has relegated the fourth division, the Republican Guard, and the Special Forces to guard duties while Hezbollah tackles the difficult burden of street fighting the Syrian Rebels.
To me, this looks like Assad and Iran are using Arab Shia as pawns to battle the Sunnis. It is a sectarian babushka because the Iranian Mullahs could care less about Arab Shia and Assad could care less about anyone but himself. Reuters analysis points to the influence Iran gets in return from Assad if he wins, mine points to the very high cost of Arab human lives, be it Shia or Sunni or the lives of the minorities already lost because of Assad when Iran eventually loses.
Going back in time, Hezbollah’s very own existence today is the direct result of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries oppressing their own homogeneous Shia population. Hezbollah is a form of slow uprising born to safeguard the identity, dignity, and pride of the Arab Shia in the face of the shortsightedness of the Gulf societies ill equipped to handle honest governance. I cannot blame them really, even though Hezbollah’s core values, upon which it rallied the badly treated Shia population, have morphed into an Iranian tour de force taking advantage of Arab Shia anger to project Iranian power.
In similar fashion, Assad has taken advantage of the Christian minorities he claims he protects to peg their peaceful community against a vast number of angry Sunnis for the sole purpose of retaining power at all costs. Many Syrian Christians, in the face of this geo-political nightmare, are justifying their support for Assad by regurgitating Assad’s own message to them. Deep down though, most of them know well they chose a road that ends in an abyss and only a new Syria with an open-minded leadership can retrace their steps back to safety and security. It is a duty no Syrian should skirt after Assad because forced migration from their homes to Latakya or forced immigration to Paris are still acts that disintegrate the lives of the Syrian Christian community.
Of course, Mr. Obama did not help at all when he lent his support to the Muslim Brotherhood he must now realize its members are not fit to govern.
How can Iran, a country with a sizable population and resources, which shares a religion, but not a language or a heritage with any of its neighbors, project power over those neighbors without using religion? The Arab Shia battling for Assad today are arrows in the quivers of the Iranian Mullahs. When Iran can no longer project that power, Arabs will be left behind to pick-up the pieces of the Iranian policies, not the Mullahs whose short history written with the blood of their own people and the Shia in the Arab region. That is the real tragedy here if one attempts to peek into the future.
The Lebanese Shia, duped into rallying to safeguard religious iconic places of worship in Syria, are beginning to complain loudly over seeing their loved ones return home in body bags. It suddenly dawned on them their sacrifices were made to protect the Assad regime. Several articles in Arabic newspapers, which were also reported by TOI, over the last two months are an indication the Arab Shia of Lebanon are angry over what Assad and Iran are doing in their name, paid for with the blood of their sons. Their voices will rise as more Arab Shia die for the Iranian Mullahs.
Because of pre-conceived notions captured between narrowly casted classrooms, lavish cocktail parties, and trips hosted by those spreading contrarian views that do not benefit American prestige, Washington is clueless about these settled differences, otherwise Mr. Obama would not have supported the Islamists or so vociferously pursued negotiations with Iran. For all intended purposes, America is stuck in a gear it lost the will to shift from and Obama’s foreign policy imperatives seem to be destroying the whole gearbox.
Four more years of Iran may just be the medicine to shift gears for good. Meanwhile, we hope if enough of us write about this subject, the red light blinking may just buck the trend and convince Mr. Obama to change from the mechanics he has surrounded himself with to fix America’s gearbox.
Am I being Utopian? For sure, but what else can one do in the face of so many mistakes in Washington except blink their lights.