I saw an item on Channel 4 news last night that is depressing me still. It was about Syria and the latest attacks on ISIS, and it reminded me about where the conflict in Syria, I believe, is inevitably headed, and how depressing it is that very few people in the West seem to care.
Donald Trump thinks Syria is about ISIS and nothing else, so he is backing the Kurds to destroy them. It seems to be working so far. This has convinced the regime and its main backers, Russia and Iran, that the time has come to enact the next part of their plan, the thing that needs to happen after ISIS is out of the way, right now.
That “thing” is not pretty: once ISIS is gone, the next logical step is for the regime to take control of central Syria using Iranian backed Shia militias for support. The goal is to create a band of Shia control stretching to the Mediterranean. This will also have the effect of securing the Syrian regime at the same time. The problem with this plan is a simple one: there are a lot of Sunnis in the way, both in the nascent Iranian corridor of influence and of the regime’s stability. At best there will be a pogrom; at worse, something more “final solution” flavoured. Yes, seriously, it is likely to be that horrific.
Given America seems only interested in getting rid of ISIS and nothing else, this will mean that once this all starts, America will desert the region entirely, leaving only actors who will be favourable to this horror show still involved. Once this starts to happen, it is hard to see the major Sunni actors in the region just letting it go on, both the uprooting and killing of Sunnis on its own, but also the growth of Iranian power being allowed to go on unimpeded. So, as if the mass killing of innocents in the region wasn’t enough to worry about on its own, we could be looking at an all out Sunni-Shia war as well as a result of all this.
I’ve been writing about Syria for a while now. Perhaps I’m all wrong and the resolution of the Syrian civil war will somehow be peaceful. I certain hope so. Yet somehow, I just don’t see it. Every factor seems to be lining up behind something really awful happening in Syria; much, much worse than even what we have seen so far. In the face of all this, we witness the Right becoming isolationist (“not our problem, let’s steer clear”) and the Left become “pacifist”, or more usually pro-Assad (which of all the poses taken by the Left over the last few years, is easily the most immoral). I think I should stop watching news reports on Syria. The faces of those caught in the crossfire I just can’t seem to get out of my head, particularly given I know it is very likely to get much worse for them soon enough.