The World’s Next Genocide – NYTimes.com

An entirely different take–one that argues that as bad as Assad’s actions are, the possible reprisals after he would fall are to be worse.  This will not be a popular line, but may be true:

As the civil war intensifies, Mr. Assad is increasingly outsourcing the dirty work. In Damascus, militia groups within Druse, Christian and Shiite areas are being armed by the government. While the justifications for these militias are “neighborhood self-defense” and the protection of religious sites, the shabiha emerged in a similar way before becoming killing squads for Mr. Assad. And by drawing Christians, Druse, Shiites and Alawites into the civil war on an explicitly sectarian basis, the Syrian government has all but guaranteed that there will be reprisals against these communities if Mr. Assad falls.

via The World’s Next Genocide – NYTimes.com.

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4 thoughts on “The World’s Next Genocide – NYTimes.com

  1. gdgpinto says:

    I think that the last sentence of the article sums up the argument best, “The real choice in Syria today is not between Alawites or Sunnis, or between Mr. Assad and Al Qaeda, but between action enabling further crimes against humanity to take place and action dedicated to ending impunity for such crimes once and for all.”
    I think it is evidently clear that the entire international community wants something to be done about the Syrian crisis. It is also evident that if there was a clear solution to this problem, it would already have been implemented. Using history as our guide, I don’t think anyone wants to make a mistake with the Syrian situation. This article brings up an interesting point. The call to kill all of the Alawites has moved from just being a fringe group rallying cry. So, the million dollar question now seems to be, how do we oversee a peaceful transition of power without infringing on Syria’s right as a sovereign nation, and causing an ethnic cleansing in the process?
    A recent article in The Economist talks about future external help might happen soon hinting that, “Some think that the failure of the League’s initiative may force Russia and China to abstain in a UN Security Council vote.” Only time will tell what will happen of Syria, and if it will be a positive step in the right direction for that nation.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/11/syrias-uprising

  2. ayoungkang says:

    I agree with the comment above that history should be used as our guide. Think of the countless examples of unfortunate genocides and civil unrest that resulted from deeply rooted hatred between an elite minority ethnic group and majority ethnic group. I am glad that someone was able to look right through the conflict and perceive such subtle -but evident once explored- pattern in Syria. I applaud France for stepping up to actively get involved in the conflict and provide tangible support for resolving the problem. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/world/middleeast/syria-war-developments.html) I especially admire such step for its unilateral action to act upon the national belief to help Syrian rebels despite the disappointments that they have experienced in the international community such as UN as mentioned above. If the hatred solidifies and the country misses its chance to unite as a nation without Assad in a timely manner, I am afraid the predictions made in the article will realize itself in a very near future.

  3. katiaroque says:

    Politically, the country is divided between supporters of Assad, and the Alawites that are against him. This cultural separation favors the second group, and raises questions about the aftermath of the war. The rebel forces suffer from a lack of unity and trust among them, making it a big problem for the process of reconstruction. After the war, there may be a great power vacuum that can lead to extremists leaders if whoever takes (or maintain) power does not focus in rebuilding the country. But I believe that we ought to be optimistic. A great chunk of the population is not happy with the current administration, so they should have the right to remove it, whatever the result is. They should be able to work on it until they make it right.
    http://r2plive.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/rebuilding-syria-aftermath-of-the-civil-war/

  4. I had not thought of this angle until I read this article. It makes sense. Following the Rwandan genocide, wherein Hutu militants slaughtered over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, fear of reprisals led to close to two million Hutus fleeing into the DRC and other neighboring countries. Because of this, we don’t know the full cost of the Rwandan genocide, but we do know that the true cost is much larger than the 800,000 Tutsis that were initially slaughtered.

    I wouldn’t be surprised a successful Syrian revolution results in the wholesale massacre (or at least displacement) of all those that have supported Assad’s regime.”

    Here is a link to the wikipedia page about the “Great Lakes Crisis” (what incident involving the two million Hutus is called):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lakes_refugee_crisis

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