Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hama rules

The current unrest in Syria reminds me of the last time there was unrest in Syria. The result was the Hama massacre, which basically razed the city of Hama and exterminated most of its population.

The difference this time is that the current uprising is more broad-based rather than being a revolt of religious zealots in one city. Whether that is enough against a regime that has proclaimed it has no problem with imposing Hama rules (a.k.a. genocide) on any area which gets restive enough that the security forces have problems, is an open question, as is the question of whether Syria's military will follow through on that order when it is given, or will instead do like the Iranian military did in 1978 when the Shah of Iran ordered them to fire on protesters (i.e., largely melted away in the chaotic aftermath).

- Badtux the History Penguin


  1. Have you seen any reliable info on what Mossad is doing to stir up the Syrian crowds? Not that I deny those crowds have good cause to rebel against the nepotistic dictatorship that rules their country. But you KNOW that Israel has got to have a hand in this somewhere. You read more about international security issues than I do, which is why I'm asking.

  2. Bukko C.,
    Does Israel really want rebellion in Syria? I can see them wanting unrest, but rebellions sometimes lead to success. I can't imagine Israel prefers having extreme Islamic states around it in preference to strongman-run, stable states.

    Perhaps I'm overly pessimistic in thinking that Egypt and the states that follow her will end up as extreme Islamic states. But the extreme Islamists are the best organized and most able to fill the power vacuums.

  3. Bukko, Assad is an ophthalmologist who has no inherent hatred or dislike of Israel and wants nothing more than to be left in peace to be dictator over his people. Mossad far prefers Assad to a possible democratic alternative. Remember, Israel bombed Lebanon to destroy their infrastructure because the thought of a peaceful and prosperous democratic Arab nation next door to them appalled them so much. (Most of the areas that Israel bombed in the recent unpleasantness were *not* areas where Hamas had any people or military infrastructure). Israel much prefers having totalitarian dictators as neighbors, totalitarian dictators tend to care more about power than about ideology, and thus can be controlled. Democracy... who can predict democracy?

    Minerva, Lebanon is not a totalitarian Islamist nation, it is a democracy. A democracy that has its own dysfunctions, but a democracy nonetheless. There is nothing that says that an Arab democracy *has* to be an Islamist nightmare, until the recent unpleasantness with Israel, Lebanon was a popular vacation spot for French tourists, and you know that the French don't exactly follow Islamic law when it comes to covering up their women :).

    But as you say, nobody knows what would happen if Syria went democratic. Which is why Israel wants nothing to do with the pro-democracy movement in Syria, they much prefer the ophthalmologist.

    - Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

  4. I stand schooled. So my next question -- I hope this does not sound anti-Israel, but I always wonder what they're up to -- is "Is Mossad schooling Assad on how to squelch a rebellion?"

    On second thought, squelch that, because the son of a brutal dictator, no doubt surrounded by a cadre of long-serving brutal apparatchiks, doesn't need help in strategy. (I do think that dictators have been watching and learning from how other Arab uprisings have played out. "Army not shooting protestors? LOSING!!" "Army shooting opposition but ruler not sucking up to Western interests? LOSING, but slower.")

    So what are the chances that Israel has been offering technical assistance, like methods of tracking Tweeters and other key agitators so they can be assassinated off-camera? Which would be in keeping with how a once semi-noble enterprise has embraced evil as a means of survival. Unfortunately, it will be temporary survival, if you look at the history of the Crusades and all other imposed-from-outside empires...

  5. I doubt Mossad is competent enough nowadays to be that Machiavellian, Bukko. Remember, you're talking about the same guys who said that invading Lebanon in 2006 would be a piece of cake because Hezbollah didn't have any heavy weapons capable of taking out Israeli tanks. They kept saying this even after the first tank sent into Lebanon got blown to smithereens by a land mine. We all know how that one ended up... Israel ended up skittering back home with their tail tucked between their legs after a face-saving "cease fire" (hint: If you attack someone, and the end result is what it was before the war, YOU LOST), and Hezbollah now has *much* more influence in Lebanon than they had before the war.

    In short, as far as I can tell, Assad is on his own here. If there *is* any help for Assad, it's from the CIA, which has regular contacts with Assad to deal with terrorist infiltration across the Iraqi border (neither the U.S. nor Assad like Islamists one bit -- the enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but he's still the enemy of my enemy). But really, when it comes to brutal suppression of revolts, the Assad regime has far more experience than the U.S... the last time we successfully put down a revolt was in 1901, via the expedient of massacring 10% of the population of the northern Philippines to get them to accede to U.S. rule. The folks who participated in that little exercise are long dead. Whereas the perpetrators of the Hama Massacre are still right there, waiting to perpetrate round 2...

    - Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

  6. Bukko,

    Why is it always Mossad or Israel?!?

    BT: Thanks for your rational approach.


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.