The fact is that Turkey has not faced a threat on the scale of the Syrian crisis since Stalin demanded territory from the Turks in 1945. In 2011, hoping to oust the al-Assad regime, Turkey began to support the Syrian opposition. But, thus far, this policy has failed, and exposed Turkey to growing risks.
As posts go, this amounts to “carrying water” for well prepared and decently funded Washington think-tankers. I would love to join them or assist with some online or library-bound portion of their research — I’m available! — but from 90 minutes northwest of downtown, the best I’m going to do is pass some immediately relevant political analysis, background, and news on to a few BackChannels followers.
“Gonna get somethin'” plays a strong part in motivating or driving each contributor to the Islamic Small Wars, which seem to me to be about control, influence, and power over the attitudes, beliefs, and self-concepts contained in the minds of others.
Young men conflate themselves with God (“God’s will”) in the dismal episodes of the Islamic Small Wars while old ones leverage related fears and uncertainties to enrich themselves: if only it were games — set out a pot of tea, go out to a pub afterward — the teams would be fighting over an empty drum.
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Conflicts within the systems of “President-Kings” like that of Bashar Assad may have greater legitimacy and historic validity: tyrants get an even hand from God, sometimes living into old age like Robert Mugabe, sometimes, as with Muammar Qaddafi, they are not so lucky.
In Syria, the behavior of Maher al-Assad tells why: the depth of the absence of consideration for others sours everyone, and it gets so bad that either the more righteous opposition will persist or the more conscionable of the military will desist and turn.
Mugabe’s long run — he’s a lonely old bastard these days — may have been facilitated by his keeping Zimbabwe’s woes within the boundaries of Zimbabwe. While there have been across time a steady trickle of refugees and their economic impositions in other states, “trickle” is the right word compared to the obscene numbers involved in displacement and flight in Syria.
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has also not mouthed itself into the role of a belligerent with which neighbors must reckon.
All in all, Mugabe has sustained on his early military reputation (a story similar to Qaddafi’s as a junior officer who makes his mark in battle) a pretty good kingdom for himself, however degrading and impoverishing it has been for the greater portion of Zimbabweans.*
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By comparison, the ghosts of the 20th Century — World War II, Communist Russia, the Cold War — haunt Syria, and they have come to life (“as if Hafez al-Assad was still running the country from his grave” said a Druze resident of the Golan last year .).
News of the collapse of the Soviet Union perhaps failed to reach the Assad family by way of business and military associates in Russia: why change a thing?
This published today in Al-Ahram Weekly:
We need to understand that the conflict in Syria is not essentially one between Shias and Sunnis. That is pulling the wool over people’s eyes. There is no division between Shias and Sunnis were communism exists — only one between believers and atheists. 
Again, I say, lol, it’s not “Charlie Wilson’s War” this time!
Obama and Putin have realigned (more on that later and in some other post), but Syria stresses an old architecture that isn’t really there to save it.
Such ghosts could summon the dead rivalry back to life as they are threatening to do today, and this notion may be reinforced by the concerns noted around President Erdogan’s visit.
However, the Charming Colonel President King Putin is no longer secured in the way a Russian president would have been in 1990. He and the Russian People — and today accompanied by the noise of such as Pussy Riot — have moved forward, onward, and westward, and there’s no dragging them back to all that came before.
Instead — and instead of either Obama or Putin stepping in it — Syria has been left to collapse, and that is what I think may be signaled by +92,000 dead today and +3.4 million displaced (combined IDP and refugee figures).
I also suspect what’s bothering the superpower leaders (and China’s not far from all of this either) is the content and shape of the next Syria, and because of the wildly varying character within the melange of loosely confederated social elements involved, they’re stuck on the engineering within the conflagration — the Powers may be in want of updated competitive stances or genuinely new relationships –and while they’re thinking about things and struggling to find or define a better Syrian culture aside the Assad legacy, the Syrian civil war and its effects expand.
1. AFP. “Golan Druze in bitter split over Syria bloodshed.” Video. July 28, 2012. “Never in history have we heard of a national army or regime slaughtering its own people for nearly seventeen months . . . It’s as if Hafez al-Assad was still running the country from his grave” (says one interviewed Druze resident in the Golan).
*For example: “Zimbabwe’s statistical indicators for health and education were once among the best in Africa. But the political and economic crisis has brought rising poverty and social decline in its wake. The 2003 Poverty Assessment Study Survey II showed a substantial increase in poverty; between 1990 and 2003 the poverty rate rose from 25 per cent to 63 per cent.”
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