There’s something that must be accepted about dictatorships, however monstrous they really can keep stability sometimes. Through systematic suppression, torture and fear, order is established, but, when they fall, old prejudices come back straight-away.
We’ve seen this already in Egypt. After Mubarak’s demise there has been more and more attacks on the coptic Christian minority; and in Iraq, different Muslim sects are attacking each other and the country’s Christians. So, what will happen to the diverse minorities in the Middle East if and when other dictatorships fall?
…the 88% disgruntled Syrians…
While the UN continues to deliberate on how to condemn Bashar al-Assad, there are thousands of protesters continuing to die on the streets of Homs and throughout Syria. This is well documented in the media, but lesser known is that Alawites in Syria are now targets of revenge attacks.
The Alawites are a branch of Shi’a Islam who make up about 12% of the Syrian population (though it happens to be the 12% that includes the al-Assad family). Alawites are seen to have done well out of the ba’athist regime: a disproportionate amount of the top jobs in Syria are or have been held by Alawites. This, of course, doesn’t help the case for them in the eyes of the 88% disgruntled Syrians though by no means does it justify the violence against them.
…we must also take action when protesters fall behind moral standards.
The majority of the Alawite minority in Syria is in much the same position as the other protesters but the mere fact of their religion has made them a target. Al-Assad’s propaganda tends to emphasize that the generals are all great Alawis. Syria’s protesters should be supported by the west; we should support a population’s right to self-determination, but we must also take action when protesters fall behind moral standards.
Support by western powers no doubt helped the Libyan rebels take down their tyrannical dictator but we’re now finding out the atrocities they themselves committed against Gaddafi’s supporters; this needs to be learned from.
…to help suppress the protests of the majority…
Many Arab countries are too focused on which sect they support to have their opinions counted. We can’t take the Saudi’s call of support for the majority Sunni protesters seriously when they happily sent armed forces into Bahrain, along with the UAE. and Kuwait, to help suppress the protests of the majority Shi’a against the minority Sunni government.
If what the people are calling for is democracy and the rights for all, not just rights for some, then the rest of the world will no longer be stuck with only being able to choose the lesser of two evils.