Around one year after the Arab revolutions began with so much promise, the much turned darkly ominous - no more so than in Syria. At this time last year, many had hoped there might be a start of the most significant and positive changes in the Arab world since the creation of the modern Middle East after the First World War. However, events are now moving quickly in the opposite direction, highlighting the sharply reduced influence of the U.S. The fighting in Syria’s civil war may be more violent than peaceful in the year ahead.
The underlying cause of the Syrian uprising is decades of oppression and exploitation by a minority Shi’ite clan imposing its will on the majority Sunni, a police state that uses all instruments of force and violence to achieve its objectives, and a populace struggling to survive and stay away from the punishing arms of the regime.
Iran has poured a many resources into the country. There are Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps encampments and Iranian weapons and advisers throughout Syria and some of the Hezbollah forces from Lebanon have joined the Assad regime in butchering civilians in Syria. Iran is undoubtedly determined to keep its influence over the country regardless of what happens to Assad.
Syrian refugees pour into Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon, to flee the continuing assault on the civilian population by the Syrian Shi’ite led government.
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly, 137-12, Thursday to condemn Syria’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The nonbinding UN resolution is largely symbolic.
The UN passed a Saudi Arabia-drafted resolution condemning the violence in Syria and fully supporting the Arab League’s plan for political transition. The move to the General Assembly came after a UN Security Council resolution that was vetoed by China and Russia.
The Syrain minority Alawite belong to the same Muslim offshoot Shi’ite as Syrian President while the majority of the Syrian population is Sunni.
On another matter, according to the Suez Canal authority: “Two Iranian ships crossed through the Suez Canal following permission from the Egyptian armed forces,” on Friday. The destroyer and a supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, as Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.
Many of the region’s Sunnis are arrayed against Syria’s leader, including the kingdoms of the Gulf. U.S. intelligence officials said they now believe al Qaeda operatives are joining the battle against the Assad regime.
Iraqis have allegedly been arming both sides of the Syrian conflict. Sunni leaders in Iraq have claimed to be arming the opposition to Assad. Syrian opposition members have accused Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of aiding Assad by turning a blind eye to the passage of Iraqi Shiite militiamen, as well as Iranian fighters and weapons transiting to Syria through Iraq.
This is a time of real testing for American policy. U.S. vast military strength will do little good in the revolutionary Arab moments.