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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Syria's Christians and Other Minorities

Damascus Old Christian Quarter
This photo of Old City is courtesy of TripAdvisor

They are almost totally ignored in American foreign policy in the Middle East. American policy does not have much detail and effort beyond support for Israel. One might say that it resembles a policy made up by vicious children, children without a great deal of experience and "street smarts".

On the extinction of Christians - a process which began in a large way with the beginning of the Iraq War and the Bush Administration, see The American Conservative:

How the Iraq War Became a War on Christians
And why supporting Syria's rebels may extinguish Christianity in its oldest environs.
By Andrew Doran • May 9, 2013
The recent dedication of George W. Bush’s presidential library in Texas briefly rekindled debate about the defining event of his presidency, the Iraq War. The visceral hatred of many for the war and the man having substantially diminished, a more sober assessment of both seemed to prevail in the coverage. In the same news cycle there appeared a seemingly unrelated event, the abduction of two Orthodox bishops in Syria. In fact, the conflict in Syria and the American invasion of Iraq are linked by a common thread:  the failure of the U.S. to consider the effect of its foreign policy on vulnerable religious communities, especially Middle Eastern Christians...

And also from 2011 we may read and realize that everyone in the area knew that the American policy of allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel to do whatever they wished was dooming minorities sects:


Syria's Minorities Fear Sectarian Split Amid Protests
June 30, 201110:19 AM

If it seems incredible that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel have joined forces, notice that Israel has established a mission in the United Arab Emirates which border Qatar, ostensibly for concerted action against Iran (and, by implication, Hizbullah and Syria).

In Tikun Olam:

Israel Opens Secret Military-Intelligence Mission in United Arab Emirates to Threaten Iran

by Richard Silverstein on May 13, 2013 

The latest Israeli budget under consideration in the Knesset reveals that Israel opened a new mission in an unnamed Gulf State in the past year.  Though the identity of the state is supposed to be a secret (the linked Haaretz article doesn’t explicitly name it) given the delicate nature of Israeli relations with Arab countries in the region, my source informs me that it is the United Arab Emirates.  It is one of several Gulf states feeling threatened by the so-called Iranian threat.

Israel is eager to reinforce the sense of isolation and encirclement against Iran and what better way to do this than to make common cause with one of the competing powers in the region.  My source informs me that the purpose of the new mission is to coordinate and plan strategies for containing Iran...

Recently, the NY Times reported... the U.S. was preparing a $10-billion arms package to send advanced weaponry to Israel, the Saudis and UAE in order to battle that Iranian threat.  The notoriously unreliable Times of Israel also reports a so-called “moderate crescent” alliance taking shape among the Saudis, Israel, UAE, Turkey and Jordan.  It too would have the goal of offering mutual defense against Iran.  If this report is credible (given the Times of Israel’s record, that’s by no means guaranteed), then the secret mission could be part of this project, since it would enable Israel and the UAE to coordinate their efforts much more intensively.  Personally, it could be a total crock.  But even if it is, it does indicate the “thinking” of some Israeli strategists who have delusional visions of creating a Middle Eastern version of NATO to deter Iran.


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