This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Evidence grows of Assad’s extermination of Arab Sunnis in Syria
- Al-Assad issues citizenship cards to Iranian and Hezbollah Shias
- Al-Assad and Russia ally with ISIS against Arab Sunnis
- The future of Idlib
Evidence grows of Assad’s extermination of Arab Sunnis in Syria
Hezbollah and Syrian flags flutter on August 28, 2017 (Reuters)
I have written thousands of articles on Syria since the war began in 2011. There were little bits and pieces of the story that did not always make sense, but now they are all beginning to fit together, like a collection of jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together to form a big picture.
The big picture now is that Christian Russia and Shia Iran have joined with Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad to bring about the extermination of Sunni Arabs and Turkmens and repopulation of their former homes with Shias from Iran and Hezbollah and their families.
Al-Assad has been moving through different regions of Syria. He begins by bombing peaceful protesters, particularly women and children. As soon as someone becomes violent in revenge, he declares the whole community or ethnic group to be “terrorists” and uses that as an excuse for full-scale genocide and ethnic cleansing. The genocide is performed with missiles, barrel bombs, chlorine gas, and Sarin gas, all particularly targeting women and children, as well as schools, markets, and hospitals.
Al-Assad’s ethnic cleansing policy as applied locally to different regions – Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa – has been well-documented by thousands of media reports. It has been suspected that there is a larger picture that al-Assad was plotting to completely exterminate or cleanse Sunnis across the country. This has been denied by the Syrians. However, evidence has been growing in the last six months that show exactly how al-Assad plans to implement his “final solution,” eliminating all Sunnis in Syria.
The ethnic cleansing is accomplished by making it impossible for refugees to return to their homes. This year, Syria’s government passed “Law #10,” which makes it almost impossible for refugees to return to their former homes. There are millions of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Europe, and other regions who will not be able to return home and are effectively stranded in the country they fled to.
“Law #10” is a complex new property law that requires property holders in Syria to produce documentation to formally prove ownership of their private property within a period of 30 days or face confiscation. Since millions of Arab Sunnis have fled to other countries, there is no possibility that they would be able to provide the documentation and proof of ownership. There are also reports that Arab Sunnis who do have proof of ownership are beaten and tortured when they apply to Syrian authorities to have their property restored.
This means that there are large regions of Syria that have been completely cleansed of Arab Sunnis. The only question that remained was: Who was going to occupy the regions that al-Assad had cleansed? Asharq Al-Awsat (Saudi Arabia) and Al Ahram (Egypt, 14-Dec-2016) and Mideast Forum (15-Mar-2017) and Washington Institute
Al-Assad issues citizenship cards to Iranian and Hezbollah Shias
Since late 2016, there have been reports of Iranians moving into the areas that al-Assad cleansed of Arab Sunnis. As reported at the time, a senior leader in Lebanon said, “Iran and the regime don’t want any Sunnis between Damascus and Homs and the Lebanese border. This represents a historic shift in populations.”
Recent reports in the last few months describe how al-Assad is arranging for a massive influx of Iranian and Hezbollah Shias to move into the regions from which the Sunni Arabs have been cleansed.
Early this year, Syria announced a plan to issue new ID cards to Syrian citizens as well new passports, invalidating the old documents.
In recent months, several websites, mostly opposed to the al-Assad regime, have been posting documents and reporting that the region is naturalizing members of Iranian and Hezbollah militias as Syrian citizens. In combination with “Law #10,” this provides for the repopulation of regions that have been cleansed of Sunni Arabs who are in foreign refugee camps with no chance of reclaiming their property.
One website posted a Syrian government document granting citizenship to several dozen members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). According to the website:
“These official documents indicate that the Syrian regime is systematically settling Iranians in different parts of Syria in order to change the demographics [of these areas] by granting citizenship to Shi’ite Iranians and settling them in Sunni areas whose original inhabitants have been expelled… The document presented [here] is not the only one; hundreds of thousands [of Shi’ite] have been granted [Syrian] citizenship and settled in various areas, most of them members and operatives in the Iranian IRGC… These Iranians have begun to receive Syrian citizenship, as preparation for bringing in their families and settling in the areas to which they have been assigned.”
In April, a Syrian opposition website reported that “the Passports and Immigration Department in Damascus recently issued 200,000 passports to Iranians.” A Lebanon newspaper, Al-Nahar, reports that the Syrian president “has issued [Syrian] identity cards to some two million Iranians and operatives of militias belonging to the Iranian IRGC Qods Force, and to their families, as well to Hezbollah [operatives]. The [regime] does not just issue them Syrian identity cards, but helps them to settle in parts of Damascus’s Ghouta and in the rural areas of Damascus, Hama, Homs and Aleppo that have been emptied of their original inhabitants.” The report adds that “many members of the Iranian regime have obtained Syrian identity cards in order to evade the American sanctions.” MEMRI (26-Nov-2018) and Guardian (London, 13-Jan-2017) and Syrian Observer (4-May-2018)
Al-Assad and Russia ally with ISIS against Arab Sunnis
As I said earlier, the little bits and pieces of the war in Syria are beginning to fit together, like a collection of jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together to form a big picture.
Most Westerners assume that once the war ends, Syria will return to some sort of balance such as existed prior to 2011. In particular, the 12 million or so Syrians who have been displaced from their homes, including the millions that have fled to neighboring countries, would return to their homes when the war ended.
However, we now know that this will never happen and that this was never the intention. The millions of Syrian refugees that fled to other countries, many in refugee camps, are stranded there and will never be permitted to return to their homes.
Many observers are comparing al-Assad’s actions to those of Israel in the 1947-48 war between Jews and Arabs. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee from their homes in what is now Israel, and forced to live in Palestinian refugee camps, with descendants who will never be permitted to return to their grandparents’ homes. Al-Assad expects the same thing: that Syrian refugees will be forced to remain in refugee camps, and they and their children will never be permitted to return.
One of those Palestinian refugee camps was on the outskirts of Latakia in western Syria. In August 2011, al-Assad launched a violent ethnic cleansing attack, causing tens of thousands of residents to flee. Today, that region is being repopulated by Iranian and Hezbollah Shias.
I wrote about this attack in 2011 before I understood what was really going on. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Assad’s forces have avoided the neighborhoods of Assad’s Alawite sect, and instead have been targeting Sunni Muslim neighborhoods, including a large Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia’s al-Ramel district. Five to ten thousand refugees were forced to flee, and their whereabouts are unknown, according to the BBC. Newspapers in the region have expressed anger about Arab states’ failure to respond to events in Syria.
Another report indicates that Assad’s security forces began ordering residents of the Ramleh region, which includes a refugee camp housing more than 10,000 Palestinians, to go to a soccer stadium ahead of what they described as a huge military operation. After the people were herded into the stadium, security forces took away their identification cards and cellphones. At least five people were confirmed dead, according to the LA Times
We now know that, in fact, this was the beginning of al-Assad’s policy of ethnic cleansing.
Al-Assad used an ethnic cleansing methodology that he has repeated many times after that. He would begin by bombing peaceful protesters, or any civilians whether protesting or not. Once there was any kind of violent counter-reaction, al-Assad would declare the entire population to be terrorists. He would then go into a full-scale extermination, using missile barrages, barrel bombs, chlorine gas, and Sarin gas.
Al-Assad’s use of chlorine gas was particularly effective. Al-Assad used Vladimir Putin’s “Grozny strategy,” where warplanes attack hospitals, schools, and markets with the objective of creating millions of refugees, who can then be attacked while they are out in the open. A refinement developed by al-Assad’s forces is to drop barrel bombs filled with metals, explosives, and chlorine gas. The metals would kill as many people as possible, and the chlorine gas, which is heavier than air, would fall into basements and bunkers where women and children were hiding. Once they were forced out into the open, additional barrel bombs and missiles or Sarin gas could kill the women and children en masse.
It was never entirely clear why al-Assad attacked the Latakia Palestinian refugee camp, but it is now clear that he meant to exterminate or remove all the residents so that the area could be repopulated by Iranian and Hezbollah Shias.
The attack on the Latakia camp had another consequence. The attack was widely reported in Islamic media around the world as an attack by al-Assad’s Shia army and Russia’s Christian warplanes on innocent Sunni women and children. The result was that tens of thousands of young Sunni jihadists from over 80 countries came to Syria to fight against al-Assad. These were foreign fighters who, in 2014, formed the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).
The relationship between al-Assad and ISIS has always been puzzling because al-Assad and the Russians never attacked ISIS, but always seemed willing to allow them to grow and prosper as if they were al-Assad’s ally. As it turned out, ISIS was al-Assad’s ally. The foreign fighters in ISIS were fighting for control of territory in eastern Syria and Iraq, and they were fighting Syrian Sunni Arabs to gain that territory. In other words, al-Assad and ISIS were allies, killing the same enemy: indigenous Sunni Arabs.
ISIS was launching terrorist attacks in Europe, which al-Assad and Vladimir Putin were apparently very pleased about. This justified, and continues to justify, an American military presence in Syria, whether Bashar al-Assad likes it or not. It was only the Americans that were determined to eliminate ISIS. The mainly Kurdish YPG forces, backed by American warplanes and logistics, finally defeated ISIS in their Caliphate capital city, Raqqa.
The future of Idlib
Idlib is the province in northwest Syria along the border with Turkey.
As the Syrian regime, along with the Christian Russians and Shia Iranians, conducted ethnic cleansing and genocide in one region after another, Bashar al-Assad always agreed to a “humanitarian” solution, as requested by a series of credulous United Nations envoys, who were all useful idiots. The solution was that any Sunni Arabs that had not been killed would be permitted to leave the region and flee to Idlib province.
It now turns out that this was just another part of the jigsaw puzzle that forms the entire picture. Al-Assad has arranged for much of Syria to be demographically changed, with Iranian and Hezbollah Shias and their families living in areas that have been cleansed of Arab Sunnis. The Arab Sunnis and Turkmens have been gathered into Idlib province in the northwest, where their security is supposedly guaranteed by Turkey, although Turkey seems to be overwhelmed.
So now al-Assad and Iran are in control of western and southern Syria, where they present a continuing threat to Israel. But what is the future of Idlib?
There are three million people in Idlib, and half of them are displaced people who fled al-Assad’s violence in other regions. Of the three million civilians, there are an estimated 60,000 or so anti-Assad rebels in Idlib. No one doubts that al-Assad would be happy to kill all three million people in Idlib, using the anti-Assad rebels as an excuse.
Some observers believe that al-Assad will just let Idlib be, even though those anti-Assad rebels could launch attacks at any time on the regime.
Bashar al-Assad is a psychopathic monster, the worst war criminal so far this century. Al-Assad has gotten this far in ethnic cleansing large areas and repopulating the cleansed areas with Iranian and Hezbollah Shias. He is not going to stop at Idlib, even if attacking Idlib creates millions more refugees and the greatest humanitarian disaster so far this century.
For Iran, the goal would be completion of the “Shia Crescent”: Support the Houthis to defeat the Saudis in Yemen; continue taking control of the government in Baghdad; repopulate the Arab Sunni areas of Syria with Iranian and Hezbollah Shias; continue to support Hezbollah in Lebanon to attack Israel, and wipe it off the map.
For Christian Russia and Shia Iran, this would be the greatest genocidal victory so far this century.
Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war refighting the 1948 war between Jews and Arabs that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The war will also pit Sunnis versus Shias and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the “axis” of China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the “allies,” the U.S., India, Russia, and Iran. AFP (25-May-2018) and Orient News (Syria/UAE, 4-Sep-2016)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Law #10, Russia, Iran, Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, Idlib, Latakia, El-Ramel, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel
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