Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What fate awaits Syria? | How it all began.... | By:Michael Chmutov

Coup de grâce? * Will Syria emerge?

In the history of every modern or bygone in the state's history, there are dates who share his fate in "before" and "after"; serving as a kind of watershed on the path of life of the people, government and the whole country. In the modern history of Syria and a number of other States in the near East and North Africa a similar "kink" was 2011 the year of the so-called "Arab spring". This poetic name was born by the media and publicists, probably under the influence of another metaphorical historical term "Spring of Nations" 1848-1849, in several European countries. But as is the case with the Old world of the nineteenth century the expectations associated with the early acquisition of peoples civil liberties and progressive way of development, was replaced by a gloomy reflection, due to a huge, frequently senseless loss of lives, lawlessness rampant and rapid leveling of the revolutionary liberation of ideas, a single calls for implementation of which were drowned out by the screams of the wounded, who lost home and family of people thrown into a bloody maelstrom of history, versasuite their eyes and on their bones...
One of the most famous thinkers of the twentieth century by A. Toynbee in his fundamental work "Origin, growth and disintegration of civilizations" suggested that the term "coup de grâce" (mortal strike - FR.), meaning fatally irresistible to civilization or nation is a historic challenge, to overcome the consequences of which the victim is unable to. For example, the coup de grâce to the Roman Empire was, according to the philosopher, the rise of Christianity within it and the invasion of the "external proletariat" - the German-speaking barbarians. No doubt, recently the "death blow" was dealt a young, not institutionally well-established statehood of Libya and Yemen; countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain have avoided the most severe shocks in the form of civil war. Syria till today choking in the grip of civil conflict, exacerbated de facto external (Iraq) aggression of terrorists. However, every war ends sooner or later, and emerged from this war the society had to re-learn to live a peaceful life. Learn to live or die.
What fate awaits Syria?

The soldiers of the Republican guard of Syria, three years defending the right of his country to life in the besieged ring. Der-ez-Zor, today.
How it all began.
To start such a bold predictive study is needed with a cursory excursion into the history of Syrian statehood. Despite the fact that the potestas of the first state entities appeared on the territory of modern Syria in the IV Millennium BC, Syria as an Arab state is very, very young by historical standards. Historically the territory of modern Syria was inhabited by numerous Semitic tribes whose description is the subject of several separate theses. We note only that the area was of strategic importance since the ancient times, being a transit line between two of the earliest irrigation civilizations - Ancient Egypt in the Nile valley and state formations between the Tigris and Euphrates, called Sumero-Akkadian civilization. In addition, Syria provided access to the Eastern Mediterranean, on the banks of which flourished in the Phoenician trading cities, Jewish agricultural state and the temporary "operating base" of militant sea peoples.
In the first Millennium before Christ (from 10 to 1 centuries BC), Syria has been under the heel of the Hyksos, Philistines, Egyptians of Tutmes III and Ramessides, Assyrians, Persians and Greeks, Alexander the great, who created a huge Syrian Seleucid power from the Jordan to the Indus and from the Caucasus to Arabia. The state, representing a conglomeration of tribes and ethnicities under the precarious control of immigrants from Macedonia, poorly known the region and its customs, quickly weakened and was annexed first by Armenian and then by the Romans in the I century BC
The ruins of Palmyra - the legacy of Hellenism in Syria.
Roman rule over Syria lasted until 395 ad, after which the region fell under the rule of the Byzantine Empire (in fact she was the heir to Rome). In 661 the waves of Arab conquerors who built the first in the history of the Caliphate (in total there will be about 10; the capital of the first - Okladnogo was up to 750, the Damascus), escaped from the depths of Arabia and conquered Syria, and then a good half of the then-known world from Spain to the Indus. Thus began the Islamic history of Syria, which lasted until 1918, when Syria together with other territories of another "Caliphate" - the Ottoman Empire - was rejected by the Entente and the results of the Versailles peace Treaty "mandated territory of Syria and Lebanon" under the authority of France ( 1922).
The Arab Caliphate period of its dawn - middle of VIII century.
In 1936, the mandate was divided into Syria and Lebanon, and in 1936 began a full history of Syrian statehood - France declared the proclamation of Syrian sovereignty, but was in no hurry to ratify the relevant document.
Meanwhile, in the summer of 1940 France was occupied by German troops. On the territories of its vast overseas possessions intensified political processes. Syria, which had come under control of the collaborationist Vichy regime, the Nazis planned to use as a springboard for an attack on British-styled Iraq, Iran and then towards India. However, Britain with the support of the army of Free France of General Charles de Gaulle thwarted these plans: in June-July 1941, "under the guise of" beginning of the great Patriotic war the British and French knocked a loyal Vichy forces from Syria and took it. In late September 1941 was proclaimed the independence of Syria from France, and in 1946 French troops leave the country.
The British subdivisions are in Aleppo (Aleppo) - the largest city in Syria. The summer of 1941.
Its President became the leader of the national liberation movement, known in the years of Ottoman domination, Shukri al-Kuatli. The subsequent history of Syria until the present day represents a permanent military-political struggle with Israel, and a kaleidoscope of coups and diplomatic combinations ( for example, from 1958 to 1961, Syria co-existed with Egypt in the form of United Arab Republic after a devastating for Egypt the Suez war of 1956 such an Alliance was considered as natural and therefore eternal, but fell apart after another coup in Syria).
The legacy of 20 years of French rule became, primarily, a private Syrian statehood, which had, however, more "skeletons in the closet" than the obvious "pluses":
First, the political institutions of the European type were brought to Syria (as in many other Asian and African States) by artificial means, "projected" only for a narrow layer of weak, not proven the national elite, while remaining alien to the mass of the population;
Secondly, Syria's borders were created artificially: on the territory of the young, not having a clear national idea of the state overnight was the Sunni Arabs of the Eastern territories (you live in the upper reaches of the Euphrates), Arab-Alawite (a branch of Shia) who favors the Levant - densely populated regions of the West and the Kurds - a divided people, located in the mountainous regions of Northern Syria. At the same time, the Lebanese territory was strongly restricted exit Syria to the Mediterranean sea, and the young Israeli state with tight dispersion of the Jewish and Arab population was natural for Syria's geopolitical opponent.
Ethnic map of modern Syria
So, Syria was doomed to the external confrontation and the sharp ideological struggle for its existence. Due to these factors fast datavoice secular "Western" elite and the displacement of military and religious-political "caste", the vanguard of which was now ruling the country panarabism branch of the Baath party.
The clan Assad came to power in 1971. For Syria this time was momentous - he was shamefully lost the six-day war, Israel occupied the Golan heights, there was a struggle of attrition, there is a new political crisis. The advent of Hafez al-Assad, with the support of the Mediterranean squadron of the Soviet Navy opened a new epoch in the history of the Syrian Arab Republic. The iron hand taking domestic politics, creating an authoritarian regime (hardness, however, much inferior Jamahiriya Gaddafi in Libya or the absolutism of the Saudis in Arabia), the Assads have made a breakthrough in relations with Israel - Syria was rearming, made friends with a number of other secular States in the Middle East (primarily Egypt and Iraq) and became a regional power by the end of 1980-ies. However, the worst effects of the premature birth of the Syrian nation were ahead.
Colonel in the Syrian air force, Hafez al-Assad. 1970.

Civil warAs it turned out.
Analysis of the causes of the "Arab spring" in General and the revolution in Syria in particular - the case of the next generation of researchers. Modern publicists, partly not having all housing sources, partly fulfilling a political order, often narrow the range of factors that led to a national catastrophe in one of the most stable middle Eastern States. So, some say about the exclusive fault of the ruling regime in the heated political situation and the result after the first performances repression; second, they blame everything on external forces that influence the protest movement escalated into an armed struggle against a legitimate government. Right and those and others. Note, however, that the revolution cannot be "exported" (many have tried - did not work), and it is impossible to ever "all happy" people suddenly rose to a senseless and merciless revolt. Before boiling geyser revolution breaks through the soil of an unhappy country, under the ground for years seething with no visible streams and rivers of the people's wrath.
Why is it "exploded" Syria?
The modern industrial state becomes such when GDP begins to dominate the products of industrial production and in the social environment is urbanization. It is desirable that this process was natural, that a state system may buy "artificial" and the tenuous nature of. being forced to constantly fight, Syria could not become an industrial country, however, the historical time for this it was not: "fencing" in England or modernization in France and the USA lasted from 70 to 200 years, and was accompanied by severe social shocks; in our country the forced modernization of the interwar period took place in a short time, and despite the enormous resources the Soviet Union was paid an awful high price (phantom pain giant social upheaval will prove himself in domestic society - the bright, the external manifestation is an acute discussion on the role of Stalinism in Russian history). In Syria the same had neither the time nor the resources nor the "good years" ( P. A. Stolypin dreamed of 20 years of peace for Russia, between the Civil and great Patriotic wars of these years we were indirectly available). 
"But Syria supported the Soviet Union!" for that reason many will notice. The contribution of this support in the history of the country cannot be overemphasized, however, to instill in the country's industrial structure (as in "gift" a revolution) is impossible - the Soviet Union collapsed, and Syria lost the arteries supplying its life-giving power.
Soviet armored vehicles BTR-152 for a young Syrian army. 1950-ies.
Social reaction of Syrian society on the collapse of the main "friend and comrade" was ruralization (deurbanization) economy. Unlike North Korea with its highly centralized system of production and redistribution of food, in Syria the citizens had the possibility to start feed "from the earth". As a result, the rural population in the not-too vast fertile areas of Syria (Latakia, the district of Damascus and Palmyra and the Euphrates river valley) has increased dramatically.
If you should blame the US in the Syrian problems, for them the war in Iraq: "desert Storm" raised unprecedented in the modern history of man "storm" - escape the allied bombing, millions of Iraqis from cities and fertile areas fled to neighboring Syria in its Eastern regions has increased not only the number of half-starved outcasts, but also Sunnis, spiritual opposition to the ruling clans. After the "Storm" Hussein's regime in Iraq has toughened its policy against the Kurds, many of whom had also fled to Syria (the persecution of Kurdish activists in more prosperous Turkey would not allow these miserable people to seek asylum in this country).
Refugees from Iraq in Syria.
In 2000 died H. al-Assad. In the presidential election won by his son Bashar. People with European education and legal and political experience, al-Assad has implemented a number of economic reforms, stimulated economic support to its regions, initiated the establishment of new businesses and housing. However, the growth of living standards has created a new (in the early 200S, not so obvious problem) - a surge in the birth rate, especially from the agricultural areas. The increase in the number of dependents in a poor Syrian families endangered pauperization million barely recovered after the economic decline of the workers. By 2007-2008, sounded another Wake-up call: on Syria have swept the drought began to be felt shortage of drinking water. The already difficult situation was complicated by the Damascus - by the decision of the Central authorities built dams and aqueducts in the most populated and developed Western part of the country. When the construction was not taken into account the wishes of the people of the provinces of Hama, Idlib, raqqa and HOMS (these regions are to this day a stronghold of anti-government forces) - the population was the feeling that "the regime is stealing from the people water," oil on the fire poured religious fact - "the alawites were stealing water from the Sunnis".
Society has awakened. The louder people demanded the government improve the conditions of its existence. razletevshihsya quickly through the world thanks to social media, often false information about events in "brotherly" Tunisia and Egypt have catalyzed civic engagement. However, civil society in Syria and other Arab countries were in their infancy and in the image and likeness of the young of European societies since the "Spring of Nations" demanded all at once, not realizing their responsibility to the country. However, to its credit, the Syrian demonstrators should be noted the peaceful nature of the first share: on Fridays, after the prayer of sirica thousands gathered on squares and streets of cities with demands of economic and less of political persuasion. The first major protest took place on 15 March in the city of Deraa in southern Syria. Then rose HOMS, Aleppo, Hama, raqqa, and later Damascus. Fearing to share the fate of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt, the Syrian leadership was confused and did the worst thing: decided to power the counter-demonstrators, had already embarked on illegal activities, but so far in the format of street hooliganism. The first blood was spilt. The enemies of the regime inside and outside Syria, a casus belli (reason for war - lat.) - someone was waiting for this occasion, and someone just was furious aggression of the authorities, which seemed totally unnecessary and extremely cruel. In some places the army has shot unarmed, some "opposition" blew up car bombs in Alawite neighborhoods...Cancerous tumor of the civil war quickly engulfed the country, "immunity" which has been weakened by years of creeping crisis...
Sectarian map of Syria at the beginning of the conflict
"We all wanted peace, not knowing what it is..." Possible future Syria.

Describe the course of the civil war and external influence on its course in detail will not. it is important to note that since the end of 2013 - beginning of 2014 it has come a qualitative change: on a proscenium there was Vasilisa military-political force - the "Islamic state" (banned in Russia - approx.M.Sh.). And although tens of thousands of Syrians joined the ranks of the new "Caliphate", this movement is clearly anti-Syrian, is destructive towards statehood Syria. At about the same time, there is actual disintegration of the Syrian state into three parts: 1. controlled by ISIS and similar Islamist territory, 2.Arena of the struggle of the loyalists and a few layers of "secular" opposition, 3. Kurdish areas. It is worth noting two circumstances: A. about 40% of the desert regions of Syria are de facto not controlled by anyone; B. To date, the country has only two forces able (and willing) to completely control the Syrian territory is ISIS and the Assad government (with the possible consolidation able to agree with the opposition). To believe in victory first does not want to - besides, the world community somehow prevents this scenario.
First the unrest in Syria, 2011. It all started peacefully...
But what happens after the victory? To discuss the possibility of a military "Victoria" bleeding the government army and forces loyal to it, will not - what is clear is that this case is at least her 2-3 years. Now the loyalists were able to keep the most economically developed region, however, most cities and agricultural regions of Syria hardest way affected by the war. Suppose all these cities are released, the main (and common) enemy is defeated. What's next? Further - lying in the ruins of a country where every third soldier with an established and paid for by the blood of beliefs, and every second is a potential beggar....
Today Bashar al-Assad unites most sane Syrians, as the banner of struggle against religious fanaticism, cruelty and destructiveness of the IG. After the war he would have to "win the world" - tired and exhausted simultaneously awakened people will ask him: "What are we going to do now? As we rebuild the country? Who we are now for you and your power?" and it seems likely that "Why did we do this - who is to blame?". Have some way to establish cooperation between the Kurdish militias and government parts, Shiite militia and Iranian volunteer fighters Hezbola and former (are there any "former"?) khalifatullah? But it's a matter of political will, which emerged from the crucible of war people may be enough.
What about the economy? The Arab world knows no precedent "economic miracle" like the one that characterized the economy of Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea or Singapore in the twentieth century. The only similar case to Algiers. This country was engulfed in civil war with the Islamists almost 15 years - since the early 1990-ies to 2005-2007 After the victory of the government forces throughout almost the collapsed state (a good example for Assad), Algeria has undertaken reforms had successfully avoided the "Arab spring" (an example of how having the experience of fratricide society would think twice before "riot") and has achieved a high GDP (especially for the impoverished and rebellious North Africa).
Algeria. Perhaps the most favorable for Syria and Assad sample output from the civil war with the Islamists.

And does Syria? When political consensus, Yes - it should spare no unitary device, nor the old who have committed war elite - the whole Syrian people will have to rebuild the country. The experience of agricultural States shows that the reconstruction after the war may last for decades (after the Patriotic war of 1812 Moscow was in ruins for more than 10 years; Smolensk - before 1850). The restoration without modernization it is impossible - there is the example of the USSR, simultaneously carrying out the modernization and recovery of "their" Civil war. Syria will have to seek softer (without social shocks) and resource (soil, forest, and a large number of hydrocarbons we do not have) methods of recovery. The base of the Syrian revival must become Latakia and Damascus area - the most developed regions, the least affected by the war.
The war in Syria. As you can see, the loyalists control most economically significant regions(white), IG - Euphrates basin and the oasis of the oil fields (gray), the Kurds of their ethnic enclaves (yellow), large area of "no man's" the wilderness.
The problem of balance of human resources will be relevant and controversial. On the one hand, millions of Syrians have fled the country, but only about 500 thousand are unlikely to return to their homeland (those who fled to Europe). Hundreds of thousands of refugees crammed into a Spartan (and Buchenwald) the conditions of Jordanian and Turkish camps in the desert and after the establishment of the Fatherland of the world will hasten to return to burnt homes. In addition, much needed for the conversion of the country's intellectuals leaves its mass - outflow of "brains" does not Bode well. In addition, important "demilitarization" of the worldview of warring nation - his desire to build peace (this is possible if the real victory will be achieved and will not have the feeling of incompleteness of the war).
Of course, there will be a role and the situation in neighbouring countries, and the stance of world powers on Syria and the global economic situation, and the factor of climate change...But the operative word in the historical destiny of the people can and should say the people.
A blow that inflicts the history of the state and nation , may be different power and different exposure - thousands of countries were destroyed by the call, unable to cope with them, while for other shocks became the starting points for transition to a qualitatively different level. The strike, which is still reeling Syria has changed the destiny of this country; now the word of the country - will she be able to survive and change their destiny, or will sink into oblivion, replaced by lifting the head of the quasi-States of Kurds or "builders of the Caliphate"? The answer to this question unknown to anyone but going to give it to the Syrians themselves. But in the ongoing transformation of this young and this long-suffering country, one fact: Russia supports Syria, which means that some part of its future history today rightfully belongs to our people.


Russian Mi-24 is one of the last guardians of civilization in Syria.

Note:
*Fatal blow (FR.)

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