The situation in Syria appears to get worse by the day. I wanted to clarify some remarks I made regarding my earlier article about Syria.
I mentioned that the West should use the Alawites strategic position as a bargaining chip. There are a few points I wanted to add on that statement and the article in general.
In terms of that comment:
We live in a cruel world, I look at things as a realist and not as an idealist. That said, I do not think we should arm the Alawites and try to cause more death, but rather try to put that forth as a point to scare the opposition into compromise. Sometimes having too great of a victory is a bad thing, look at Iraq as an example. Syria is especially frightening as the radical Sunni groups are already targeting shias/Alawites. If they win outright expect the massacre to continue on a greater scale. Its a sad day when Russia has a much more of a realist approach than the Western democracies.
I also want to note that I do not expect this to happen. The West has dealt extremely poorly with the uprisings in the Middle East. I do not say this as a Monday morning quarterback, but rather as someone who warned before and during the disasters in various countries. Until a few weeks ago, it looked like the US learnt its lesson and would stay out of Syria. However, now it appears we are making the same mistakes.
In summary, my point is/was do not let the rebels win outright, this is the worst possible outcome.
It is impossible to predict the future, but I do expect the West to consider this dangerous policy. Therefore, Assad will continue an all out fight against the rebels either in Damascus or the coast. If he falls with most of his army in Damascus, the situation will likely be worse for the Alawites (and non fanatic Sunnis). A source close to the opposition, Assad, and many regional heads of state, says that Assad will flee to the coast to continue the fight. It looks like the death toll will reach the hundred of thousand mark before there is ‘victory’. Additionally, like Libya and Iraq, the war will not end if Assad dies.
Joe Biden threw out an idea a few years ago regarding the partition of Iraq. He recommended that the country be divided into three separate states, Sunni, Kurdish and Shia. At the time he was ridiculed, but in hindsight it seems not so crazy. I do not think the US should or has any right to split up a country, but I think that splitting up Syria and Iraq along sectarian lines would be better for all the groups in the countries. This policy was implemented in many countries after World War II, especially in Poland. It was carried out in a much more brutal fashion in the 1940s. This time, it appears that ethnic groups are already being split and driven out of various cities, making this policy much easier to implement.
Therefore, I will be the first to propose the following solution. I do not think regional countries like Turkey would like this, but others like the Saudis and Iran may favor this solution. Russia a close ally of Syria would likely go along. Split up Iraq and Syria into five separate states. A druze state in southern Syria, Alawite state on the coast, a Sunni state spanning across the borders, a Shia state in Southern Iraq, and a Kurdish state across the Northern borders of both countries. As noted, I do NOT want the US or Europe to do this, but it could be an option for the citizens of each country to implement. I doubt the five state solution will happen, but want to throw out the idea as one way to decrease a tension in the region.
Note: Many people have asked me to write more about politics. Someone said you have been so accurate in your predictions you need to write more. I am flattered and do not consider myself an expert, but plan to write a bit more on politics with a focus on MENA as I feel the media does an awful job covering most countries in the region. I also am trying to write at least a few articles on finance every week.