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Oil and God - Statements


 

The book in brief

2 events since 9/11 shaped O & G:

1) Arab Spring's Parliamentary democracy. It discredited Wahhabi preaching that democracy is a Western conspiracy to destroy Islam.

2) Empowerment of Iran by GW Bush & Obama.

 

ME religious extremism grew after Ottoman defeat in 1918. 

O & G studies why hatred & violence replaced a tolerant Ottoman Sunni Hanafi Islam.

O & G contends that lurking behind religious extremism are: Wahhabism, oil, Arab/Israel conflict, and the empowerment of Iran by G.W. Bush & Obama.

 

US control over Saudi oil is a non-lethal WMD. It adds to the two other weapons in US arsenal, hegemony over global food exports and the US dollar as reserve currency. To explain US protection of Riyadh, O & G connects US oil politics to SaudiA’s symbiotic union with Wahhabism.

 

35,000 US troops in GCC bases: 

- Control Saudi & other GCC oil exports (35% of global exports) 

- Protect Arab sheikhs

- Defend Strait of Hormuz

- Stand ready to control Iran and Iraq oil exports.

 

The terrorists of 9/11 were all Wahhabis, 15 Saudis, 2 Emaraties, 1 Lebanese, 1 Egyptian.

O & G examines why the US punished Iraq, not Saudi Arabia.

 

US' control over Saudi oil exports controls, in case of war, oil importing rivals (China, EU, India, Japan).

National security worries will drive green energy in these countries to end oil imports. When that happens, US will abandon Riyadh, Saudi oil income will dwindle, Wahhabi terror will drop, and Arab democracy will then have a chance to grow.

 

Given ME Muslims' love of Islam:

1) Minorities must never rule over the Muslim majority—Witness Asads' destruction of Syria.

2) If Arab rulers are to become legitimate, democracy is a prerequisite.

  

Oil has protected SaudiA before & after 9/11. 

G.W. Bush ignored Wahhabi culpability, occupied Iraq, only for Iran to control Iraq. 

Obama empowered Iran further; midwifed JCPOA; embraced Iran's proxy, Maliki; withdrew US troops from Iraq too early, & gave Syria to Qom.

 

SaudiA is caught between Arab Spring’s Muslim Brotherhood’s representative democracy & Wahhabi ideology of al-Qaeda & the so-called Islamic State. To claim the high religious ground, Riyadh wouldn’t reform the Wahhabi cult it imposed in 1932. 

As for democratic reforms, expect zero.

 

Oil will prevent Arab Spring's democracy from reaching Riyadh and Cairo, until green energy ends Saudi oil exports.

Non-oil Arab states far from SaudiA; like Tunisia/Morocco can evolve democracy without outside hindrance.

 

Given its strong cultural & societal connections to SaudiA, Egypt won't be allowed to become democratic. SaudiA must be shielded from a democratic Egypt. Since 1953, except for 1 year under president Morsi, Egypt suffered military dictatorships.

 

US has been protecting Saudi kings despite their absolutism. Why?

1) Controlling 1 absolute king is easier than controlling scores of politicians in a democracy.

2) Fear that pushing Riyadh to reform might cause loss of control over oil exports.

 

Israel’s founding was based on a biblical covenant. This politicized the Bible. In reaction, the Qur’an was politicized. 

Unless the Bible is depoliticized, wars between Arabs and Jews could go on for the next 1,000 years. 


A purely Jewish Israel is impossible, unless the Palestinians vanish. A 2-state solution suffers from thorny issues: Jerusalem, borders, security, water rights, settlements, refugees. A single democratic secular state promises better long-term prospects.


The Palestinians did not take anything from Israel. For a durable long-term peace, Israel should not stonewall the Oslo Accords or the Arab Peace Initiative.


The march of Shi’ism opened the gates of hell in the Muslim Middle East. It destroyed, most of Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It killed and injured 5 million and created 15 million refugees. As Pandora’s Box got opened, Shi’ite/ Sunni wars could rage for generations.

 

In religion-gripped Syria, it is unsustainable for a non-representative 10% Alawite minority to rule over the 75% Sunni majority. 

 

Asad has 3 legs:

1) Police state. Amnesty International documented 38 torture types.

2) Palace ulama exploit Quran's 4:59 to obey Asad.

3) Anti Israel rhetoric to justify link to Iran and the imposition of emergency laws since 1963.

 

50 years of Asad’s tyranny led to protests in Dar’a on 3/18/2011. To weaponize the revoltion, Asad killed civilians. For blackmail legitimacy, he Islamicized the war by releasing jihadists from jails to force the world to choose between tyranny or jihadists.

 

Asad decapitated Syria’s opposition since 1963. There were no parties or community leaders to lead the 2011 revolution. 1,500 groups gradually appeared. The revolt relied on hapless SaudiA and Qatar. The 2 states hate each other. 

 

Obama doomed Syria’s revolution. He prevented supply of anti-warplane guns, repudiated his own red line on Asad’s use of chemical weapons, and watched death, injury, and displacement of 2/3s of Syria’s 20-mil people. Obama empowered Iran beyond Bush.

 

US may exploit Syrians’ hatred of Asad and Russia to arm a new army from the 12 mil displaced Syrians who lost homes & family. US could turn Syria into an Afghanistan for Russia without the involvement of US troops, save for advisors & weapons.

 

 

Fighting terrorism

To breed walking bombs, politicians in Wahhabi garbs of piety teach:

Jihad injunctions + predestination dogma + promises of paradise to brew an explosive cocktail.

To explode, the cocktail needs the spark of abuse at home and/or from abroad.

 

To combat jihadi terror, representative democracy is the answer. Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of Arab Spring’s democracy is the sharpest weapon against Wahhabi indoctrination that democracy is a Western conspiracy to kill Islam.

 

In Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait & Tunis, the Muslim Brotherhood have chosen parliamentary democracy as a way of political life. The US and its allies must choose between protecting the Wahhabi war on democracy or the Brotherhoods’ defense of democracy.



Saudi Arabia

In a world addicted to oil, hegemony over oil is world hegemony. In US hands, controlling Saudi oil politics is a non-lethal WMD, supplementing the dollar as the world's main reserve currency & food export.

 

Saudi kings’ legitimacy draws from extreme reading of the Quran and the Sunna. Palace ulama preach hatred of the other, jihad injunctions, predestination dogma, and houris in paradise. On 9/11, nineteen Wahhabi jihadists became flying bombs. 

 

Green energy will cause investment write-offs in oil, gas, auto, and fossil fuel power plants of some $20 trillion, or some $200 billion p/a for 100 years, excluding the cost of building green power plants. The war against green energy by smoke stack industries, bankers, investors and politicians will be long and ardeous.

 

In Atlantic Magazine’s interview in April 2016, Obama questioned the role played by US' Sunni Arab allies in fomenting anti-US terrorism. He was irritated that foreign policy orthodoxy compels him to treat SaudiA as an ally. He said Saudis need to “share” the ME with Iran.

 

Obama was hostile toward SaudiA in April 2016 Atlantic Magazine interview. He cited state-sponsored misogyny, manipulating the Washington playbook & radicalizing Indonesia’s Islam. His NSC staff remind visitors that the large majority of 9/11 hijackers were not Iranian.

 

Obama pursued three policies that benefited Iran & ruined Iraq & Syria:

- Midwifed the JCPOA.

- Supported Iran's proxy Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki (2006-2014).

- Pulled US troops from Iraq too early.

- Handed Syria to Iran.

 

Islamic State in Iraq & Syria was bred by the marginalization of Iraq’s minority Sunnis by Iran’s proxy Iraq PM, Nouri al-Maliki (2006–2014) and by Asad’s 10% Alawite regime’s abuse since 1963 of most of Syria’s 75% Sunni population.

 

Obama’s Middle East legacy:

- Entangled Shi’ite/Sunni in wars far away from the US.

- Led Riyadh to buy $112 billion in arms + $110 billion, which Trump signed.

- Led Riyadh to seek Israel friendship.

- Opened Iran’s market to US business.

 

Obama’s Atlantic interview was a humiliating attack on Saudi Arabia's regime and value system. On 12/20/2017, Obama left the White House with the Muslim Middle East on fire. He dealt a severe blow to Arab Sunnis, brought them huge suffering and fanned the fires that GW Bush had started in Iraq.

 

RAND Corp Report-2008

“Focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-Jihadist groups to turn them against each other”

“US leaders could... capitalize on the ‘sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict'.. 

 

Trump declared:

3/20/2018: SaudiA “is going to give the US some of that wealth.”

4/24/2018: “Countries that are in the area ... wouldn't last a week. We are protecting them.”

Trump’s protection invoice skyrocketed.

 

35,000 US soldiers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE protect GCC oil installations and absolute rulers. Trump declared on 4/24/2018: “Countries that are in the area ... wouldn't last a week. We are protecting them.”

 

Oil and God allows SaudiA to act like a hostage taker. It practices blackmail legitimacy—tolerate the Wahhabi ways or risk a darker regime that would interrupt the flow of oil.

US protection of SaudiA includes 35,000 troops in GCC bases + well paid former Sr. officials, media barons, & lobbyists. 

Saudi donations to univrsities, presidential libraries, foundations, and think tanks turned professors into apologists and think tanks into propagandists.

 

What does Trump want from the Saudi King:

Money

Normalize with Israel

Force Palestinians to yield to Israeli demands

Destroy ISIS

Moderate Wahhabism 

The King will do his utmost to deliver. Iran is knocking. US is his only protection.

 

What does al-Saud King want from Trump?

Emasculate Iran.

Declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization.

Punish Turkey and Qatar for, among others, helping the Muslim Brotherhood.

Close Al-Jazeera media.

Protect SaudiA from JASTA.

Will Trump deliver? A tiny tiny bit.Saudi reaction? Zero.

 

Al-Jazeera frightens the Saudi regime and its allies. It opened the eyes of the Arab masses to the shining light of democracy, human rights, and the dignity of the citizen.

 

War vs. Iran? Unlikely. Why?

Huge losses in:

- Israel from Hezbollah’s missiles. HA is like Iran’s WMD, more difficult to crush than Iran itself. HA is Iran's forward line of defense on Israel's border with Lebanon. 

- Lebanon, from Israeli bombs.

- Saudi oil and desalination plants, from Iran.

 

Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary democracy is a mortal danger to al-Sauds. 

MB won in Morocco (2011), Tunisia (2011), Egypt (2012), Kuwait (2016), Jordan (2016). 

Riyadh propagates that democracy is a Western conspiracy to kill Islam.

 

Wahhabism is Saudi Kings’ legitimating ideology. It is the glue that keeps the tribes under control in Islam’s name. Watering down the glue risks collapse of al-Sauds' reign. 

 

The probability for true political reforms in SaudiA is nil. Democracy and the king’s absolutism is zero-sum. Parliamentary democracy, transparency, & accountability will end al-Sauds’ regime. 

 

SaudiA and allies are frightened of:

- Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of representative democracy.

- Al Jazeera Arabic 

- The internet

 

1981-2016: Al-Sauds' family could have cost SaudiA $700 million in salaries, grants, and graft.

 

Bandar bin Sultan told PBS in 9/2001: “So, what?” if corruption cost SaudiA $50 billion out of $400 billion spent on development. We “did not invent corruption.” It has “happened since Adam and Eve.” Corruption is a part of “human nature.”

 

For decades, volumes were written and scores of fatwas were issued against the ills of women driving. Then, when suddenly on 9/ 26/2017, King Salman ordered that women be allowed to drive (by 6/24/2018), the palace ulama hailed: Amen.

 

The al-Sauds exploit Wahhabism to:

- Nullify Saudi women’s potential political activism against the regime.

- Use as a psychological weapon to force domestic quietism.

 

The oddity of Wahhabi teaching, preaching, and way of life are encapsulated in the words of Saudi female journalist, Nadine al-Budayr, translated by Chiara Pelligrini:

https://www.oasiscenter.eu/en/jaccuse-saudi-journalist

 

That 15 of the 19 Wahhabi terrorists on 9/11 were Saudis is an indictment of the Saudi regime’s Wahhabi way of life from top to bottom: Political, religious, military, judicial, intellectual, and tribal. 

 

That 15 of the 19 Wahhabi terrorists on 9/11 were Saudis is a blight on al-Sauds’ legitimating ideology, governance, educational system, indoctrination practices, and proselytization schemes. 

 

The Wahhabi way of life in SaudiA bred the terrorists of 9/11. SaudiA blackened the name of Islam & inflicted world’s wrath upon 400 mil Arabs, most of whom have always looked down on Wahhabism with disdain.

 

Muhammad bin Salman: “After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in ... SaudiA. We didn’t know how to deal with it.” 

The claim is false. Wahhabism has been radicalizing & polarizing Muslims since 1932. Qom’s revolt may be seen in part as being due to Wahhabi abuse of Shia.

 

 

Iraq 

GW Bush’s Iraq kool-aid for America:

- Al-Qaeda link

- Uranium from Niger

- 100,000 high-strength aluminum tubes to enrich uranium

- Chemical and biological arms 

1st 3 proved lies before the war

4th proved to be a lie in US’ 145-page RSCI Report (9/8/2006)

 

Senator Angus King (12/12/2017) 

“The great foreign policy mistakes of my lifetime-Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs & Iraq–all were based in one way or another on bad intelligence or, more accurately, intelligence that was tailored to fit the demands of the policymakers"

 

Regime change in Iraq was cooked well before 9/11: 

1/26/1998, 18 Sr. US politicians urge change in open letter to Clinton.

10/31/1998, Congress passed and Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act.

G.W.Bush’s rush to attack Iraq suggests: Change Iran & Syria regimes, control Iraqi oil, hand US firms big rebuilding contracts, bolster Israeli security, quench GW’s hatred of Saddam, spread democracy in Arab states.

 

Iraqi Sunnis hated GWBush’s invasion & occupation.

Kurds cheered invasion & occupation.

Shi’ites cheered the invasion, not the occupation.  

Shi’ites are divided on loyalty to Iran.

 

Was Ahmad Chalabi a patriot delivering his people from oppression, a CIA agent promoting US interests, an Iranian agent promoting Qom’s interests in Iraq & the Shi’ite Crescent, or an opportunist enhancing his personal power & wealth?

 

Obama empowered Iran beyond Bush. Backed Iraq’s sectarian pro-Tehran PM Maliki. US diplomats in Iraq sent a rare dissenting cable to Washington D.C., complaining that the US, with support & indifference, was encouraging Maliki’s authoritarianism.

 

6 senators sent Obama a letter on 11/1/2013 warning: 

“by too often pursuing a sectarian & authoritarian agenda, PM Maliki & his allies are disenfranchising Sunni Iraqis … driving many Sunni Iraqis into the arms of Al-Qaeda.”

 

The sectarian genie released by US war in Iraq, got worse after 8 years of Maliki’s sectarianism & corruption. In Mosul, Sunni soldiers refused to risk their lives for Maliki & Shi’ite soldiers refused risking their lives to defend Sunnis.

 

Obama inherited a momentum of narrowing Shi’ite/Sunni divide in Iraq. He squandered the opportunity to nurture reconciliation. Instead, he tolerated Maliki’s sectarianism and divisiveness, empowered Iran through JCPOA and handed Syria to Khameini. Obama's actions helped breed IS.

 

Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, father of Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr, preached national unity in Iraq to bridge the Shi’ite/Sunni divide. He called on his followers to pray in Sunni mosques, a call that brought throngs of his followers to do so.

 

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, uncle of Muqtada al-Sadr, formed the Islamic Da’wa Party (1958) in Iraq. His book Islamic Political System (1975) built the wilayat al-faqih (WF) governance system. In 1979, Khomeini’s WF rule was born.

 

Iraq, not Iran, is the spiritual heart and soul of Shi’ites, especially for Arab Shi’ites. The cradle of Shi’ism, Iraq is where 7 of the 12 Imams are buried, and where epic Shi’ite history is written in Basra, Karbala, Kufa, Najaf, & Samarra.



Palestine/Israel

Islam venerates Judaism.

The Qur'an says, Islam is the religion of Abraham.

In 1492, the Sunni Sultan Bayazid-II allowed Jews from Spain to settle in Ottoman lands.

That 850,000 Jews left Arab states around 1948 suggests it was ok to live with Arabs for centuries.

 

A land without people to a people without land, was the slogan Zionist leaders promoted to migrate to Palestine. In 1893, the lowest estimate of the number of Palestinians was 410,000.  

Had Palestine been uninhabited in the 19th century, a refugee problem would not have arisen. But, in 1893, there were at least 410,000 Palestinians in Palestine. In the 1922 census, Palestine had 673,000 Palestinians and 71,000 Jews.

 

850,000 Jews migrated from Arab states, 586,000 went to Israel. The number of Palestinian refugees created in 1948 was around 650,000. It is as if there was an invisible hand exchanging Palestinians for Jews. 

 

In his novel Coningsby, British PM Disraeli:

“That fair and unrivaled civilization in which the children of Ishmael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights... it is difficult to distinguish the followers of Moses from the votary of Mohamet.”  

 

Ron Pundak, 1 of the 2 Israeli negotiators with the PLO in Oslo, blamed Rabin & Peres for the process not yielding a “final-status agreement.” He told the Times of Israel (9/15/2013) he had “no doubt whatsoever” that “Arafat truly sought peace with Israel.”

 

Lord Roderick Balfour told the Telegraph (10/22/2017), there is this sentence, nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil & religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. That’s not being adhered to. Somehow got to be rectified

 

Israel & US helped create the conditions that led to the birth of jihadism. A just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be a sharp weapon in the fight against terrorism. 

 

Palestinians took nothing from Israel. Israel should not stonewall Oslo or Arab Peace Initiative. The Bible should not be at war with the Qur’an. Unless the Bible is depoliticized, the Qur’an won’t be depoliticized. Otherwise, the war would go on for 1000 yrs. 

 

Islam shares much in common with Judaism. They do not have fundamental religious conflicts, such as the issue of the blood of Jesus, which stands between Christians and Jews. Arabs are bewildered as to why Zionism has rewarded them with occupation, dispossession, and humiliation. 

Muslims and Jews lived together peacefully for centuries. In Christian Europe, centuries of maltreatment of Jews culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust. 

The End of Zionism - Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and democracy. By Avraham Burg:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,1042071,00.html

 


Syria

Syria has become during Asads’ 50-yr dictatorship more Islamic than in 1963. 50 years of Asads’ tyranny used blackmail legitimacy to frighten the West. Hardened jihadists were released from prisons to hijack and Islamatize the March 2011 revolution.   

 

Machiavellianism is alive and well in Damascus. During periods of drought, special rain prayers are staged in mosques across Syria by order of the scientist ophthalmologist Asad. 

 

While Twelver Shi’ite heresiographers regard the Alawites as exceeding all bounds in their deification of Ali, the Alawites hold Twelvers to fall short of fathoming Ali’s divinity. Sunni heresiographers view the Alawites as disbelievers and idolaters.

 

The orthodox cleric ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328), the inspiration behind the Wahhabi ideology of SaudiA, condemned the Nusayris (Alawites) as being more dangerous than the Christians. Ibn Taymiyya encouraged Muslims to conduct jihad against them.

 

To confirm that an Alawite can legitimately be called a Muslim, Hafiz Asad obtained in 1973 from Imam Musa al-Sadr in Lebanon, a fatwa that expediently made the Alawites a community of Shi’ite Islam.

 

Sadr’s fatwa that Alawites are Shi’ites, was not assented to by Sr. ayatollahs, Abol Qasem Kho’i of the Najaf Seminary, or Kazem Shariatmadari of the Qom Seminary. Alawite clerics, too, refused to submit to the authority of Najaf or Qom.

 

In July 2005, an international Islamic conference in Amman, Jordan attended by 200 Islamic scholars from 50 countries did not recognize the Alawites as Muslims.

 

Asads hijacked Ba’th Arab unity and socialism. 50 yrs later, zero was achieved on either. Syria was the only Arab Sunni country to help Persian Shi’ite Iran against Ba’thist Arab Iraq in the 8-year war. Socialism in a lawless corrupt police state is impossible.

 

Asads’ claim to legitimacy are 8 rigged referendums, in which they embarrassingly made close to 100% “yes”. Realistically, the 2 might count on 1/3 of eligible votes. 

Today, in free election, with 2/3 of people dead, injured & refugees, expect 20%.  

 

Hafiz Asad & Co. retired most Sunni officers after 1963 coup. Only Alawites lead the security machine. Sunnis can be prime ministers, cabinet members, even generals, but not in the intelligence/security units near Damascus. 

 

An offensive cult of personality around the 2 Asads is everywhere. State media exalts the dictators’ every action as a great win for Syria, Arabs, and the world. Criticism leads to jail, torture, even death. 

 

Hafiz Asad was deceitful, cruel, and devoid of empathymaster manipulator, he played one sycophant commander against the other. He struck a balance among rival officers, and among competing security and intelligence services. 

 

Having no legitimacy or support among most of the 75% Sunnis, siege mentality drive Alawite officers to cling together. Allegiance to Asad is based on the promise of riches through corruption. Asad must tolerate the sleaze of the officers in return for protection.

 

Lacking in majority support, Asad cobbled together a narrow ruling group of Alawites, other religious minorities, and Sunni merchant families. The security generals’ modest salaries are boosted by allowing them to break the law with impunity.

 

4/4/2017: Spanish police raided 15 properties of Rif’at, Hafiz Asad’s brother, in a money laundering case. The judge blocked 16 bank accounts & seized 500 assets worth $800 million. Investigators believe Rif’at siphoned $350 million in Syrian public funds.

 

2008: The US accused Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Asad, of “corrupt behavior, disadvantaging innocent Syrian businessmen... Makhlouf has manipulated the Syrian judicial system and used Syrian intelligence officials to intimidate his business rivals.” 

 

March 2010 IMF report: Syria’s “government finance statistics suffer from major deficiencies with respect to definitions, coverage, classification, methodology, accuracy, reliability, and timeliness.”

 

Syria’s budget for 2007, 2008, 2009 left ~$16 billion missing. The oil account has always been under the sole control of Hafiz Asad and his son. Other years must have followed same accounting. Questioning oil matters lead to arrest.

 

Although Syria’s constitution contains all of the clauses and appearances of a modern democratic document, it is simply a worthless yellow sheet. Emergency Law, imposed since 1963, nullifies every constitutional protection.

 

How Did the Asads Justify Fifty Years of Emergency Law? In a word, Israel. Like exploitation of Sunni Islam, the Asad regime has turned the conflict with Israel into an instrument to control the country, a magic wand to vanquish all domestic opposition.

 

Multiple security services operate independently of one another. They report directly to Asad. They overlap without coordination, operate outside the law, watch every move, and encourage people to spy on, even their own families.

 

Amnesty International found 38 torture acts in Asads jails; electric shocks, pulling out fingernails...beatings while the victim is suspended from the ceiling...hyperextending the spine, using a backward-bending chair to asphyxiate the victim or fracture the spine.

 

The Asads’ regime is built on three pillars: exploitation of Sunni Islam, brutal Alawite security forces, and rhetorical theatrics against Israel.

 

50 yrs of a brutal police state bred societal distrust. Parents fear their children might innocently divulge anti-Asad talk at home. Friends fear a cynical ear.

                         

Asad’s Air Force lost to Israel: 

6/1967 + 10/1973 wars.

6/9/1982, 29 MIGs downed over Lebanon.

6/10/1982, 39 more MIGs lost.

9/2007, al-Kibar suspected nuclear site smashed.

 

Army impoverished Syria.

2001-2011 budget estimate: $25 billion.

Buying arms:1970-1990, estimate: $28.5 billion.

1990- missing oil accounts $ billions.

 

Whether on Golan (1967+1973), Lebanon’s skies of (1982), or al-Kibar nuke site (2007), the 2 Asads suffered humiliating defeats. Impotent in fighting Israel, Hafiz formed an alliance with Iran. They built Hezbollah into a big fighting force.

 

Asads’ Ba’th Party is a cult to control society akin to the Wahhabicult that controls SaudiA. From hundreds in 1963 to 1.2 million in 2012 (20% of those aged 25 to 54 yrs). it is a network of eyes and ears in abrutal security machine.

 

$15 billion spent on irrigation (1988-2000), mostly in Gypsum & salt-affected drainage-poor Euphrates Basin. Despite Turkey’s GAP dams, which cut water flow to Syria and Iraq by 50%, to 15 bil m3 p/a, Tabqa Dam was, nonetheless, built. It loses 1.6 bil m3 to evaporation alone.

 

Asads’ failed irrigation strategy, like other public policy, reflects haphazard planning and a failed, politically-determined economic policy created by a poorly informed ruling junta. food independence in a water-stressed Syria is a mirage. 

 

Drought did not cause Syria’s 2011 revolution. Asads’ tyranny did.

Wheat crop: 

2001-2007: 4 mil tons p/a 

2008: 2.1 mil/T 

2009: 3.6 mil/T 

2010: 3.6 mil/T 

2011: 3.9 mil/T

 

- Migration: 1960-1980: 10% 

1990-2008: 6% 

2009-2011: 1% 

 

Why did the Arab Spring win in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, not in Syria?

Whereas a homogeneous Sunni Muslim population of 90% exists in Egypt & 99% in Tunis, Syria is ruled by a 10% Alawite, seen by the 75% Sunni majority as heterodox sect. 

 

Why is Israel Anti-Iran? It needs an enemy to keep its domestic front united, now that it has become immune from Arab threats as a result of the destruction of much of Iraq and Syria, and the peace treaties with Egypt & Jordan.

 

Why is Russia occupying Syria? 

Build naval & air force bases.

Test Russia’s new weapons.

Project Russia’s global power.  

Fight Russia’s jihadists.

Use Syria as a bargaining chip to remove Western sanctions imposed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. 

 

Syrians lack affinity towards Russia. They learn English or French, not Russian; stive to live in NY, or London, not Moscow; dream of Harvard, or Oxford, not Russian schools. Why? Moscow’s history of being a police-state, defense of the 2 hated Asads, USSR’s atheism and poverty.

 

Putin’s Syria project is unsustainable. If he withdraws, Asad will fall. A US led new Syrian army recruited from refugee camps could repeat for Putin USSR’s Afghan defeat. In Syria, Russia is at US mercy. But, Trump’s love of Putin is a wild card. 

 

Why is Iran wedded to Asad? Syria is Iran’s highway to Hezbollah. Without Syria, HA would be strangled. 

Ha is Iran’s 1st line of defense. It brings Iran 1,500 kilometers closer to Israel. An Israel/Iran war will bring HA into the battle instantly.

 

Why Is Iran Anti-Israel? To survive, Qom must have a strong external enemy. If an enemy does not exist, it must be invented. Israel is perfect religiously and politically. The conflict gives the ayatollahs a license to crush the slightest opposition at home.

 

The roots of Iran/Hezbollah Axis: In 1502, Shah Ismail converted Persia into Shi’ism from Sunnism to inject religious fervor into Pursia's wars against Sunni Ottomans. To effect the change, he imported Shi’ite scholars from Lebanon. A bridge linking Iran and Lebanon was formed.

 

Turkey is caught between the US/NATO and Russia. Ankara’s balancing act is complicated by its hostility towards the aspirations for self-rule of Turkey’s 20-million Kurds. The Kurdish challenge shapes Ankara’s agenda towards Syria’s revolution.

 

3.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey nurture the rich religious and cultural fabric, knitted during four centuries of Ottoman rule. Pulling the 2 peoples closer are Hanafi Islam, customs, habits, food, music, arts, and now the Turkish language.

 

As US protectorates, GCC policies are shaped by US interests. While Turkey plays the Russian card vs the US/NATO card, GCC rulers play 1 card only. 

Saudi politics is shaped by the Shi’ite/Wahhabi divide and age-old tribal rivalries and petty jealousies.

 

GCC shut their doors to brethren Syrian refugees, while Germany welcomed several hundred thousands and 5 million registered with UNHCR in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, & Egypt. 

 

For 50 years, the Assad/Ba’ath Arab nationalism ideology reduced the Kurds to 2nd class citizens. Deportation, prohibition of the Kurdish language, denial of Syrian citizenship, among other restrictions, turned Syria's Kurds' lives upside down.

 

Inserting the word Arab in the name of Syrian Republic, following the Ba’thist coup in 1963, ignores the existence in Syria of non-Arab Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Armenians, Chechens, and Circassians.

 

and 

By accepting Syria’s refugees, among whom are doctors, engineers & other professionals, Germany acquired a sizeable human capital. Assuming that the average is $50,000 per person and that Germany hosted 500,000 persons, the human capital Germany acquired would be estimated at some $25 billion. 

 

A way forward for Syria might involve:

A UN and/or an Arab peace keeping force to implement a ceasefire.

An interim government without Asad.

Free parliamentary elections involving all religious and ethnic groups.

A truth and reconciliation commission.

 

To destroy most of one’s homeland, to kill, injure, and displace two-thirds of its population, Bashar Asad must suffer from a severe mental disorder, compounded by evil home upbringing.  

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