Several of the modern states of the Middle East — and Syria is no exception — were built on a mosaic of ancient religions, sects, and ethnic groups held uneasily and sometimes uncomfortably together by central government. But governments have themselves been far from neutral, favoring one community over another in cynical power plays. Many Sunni Muslims in Syria and throughout the region feel that Assad’s Syria has unduly favored the Alawites, a sect of Shiite Islam, who constitute some 12 percent of the population but control a vastly greater percentage of the country’s wealth. Open conflict between Sunnis and Alawites in Syria would profoundly disturb the whole region, creating a nightmare scenario for Washington and other Western capitals.
Marerittet truer fordi Syria har en nøkkelposisjon i den regionale maktkampen:
[W]hat happens in Syria is of great concern to the whole region. Together with its two principal allies, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Lebanese Shiite resistance movement Hezbollah, Syria is viewed with great hostility by Israel and with wary suspicion by the United States. The Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis — of which Syria is the linchpin — has long been seen by many leaders in the region as the lone bulwark against Israeli and American hegemony. With backing from Washington, Israel has sought to smash Hezbollah (notably through its 2006 invasion of Lebanon) and detach Syria from Iran, a country Israel views as its most dangerous regional rival. Neither objective has so far been realized. But now that Syria has been weakened by internal problems, the viability of the entire axis is in danger — which could encourage dangerous risk-taking behavior by its allies as they seek to counter perceived gains by the United States and Israel.
Oppdatering: Regjeringen i Syria går av. Men Assad blir sittende.
Oppdatering 2: Det kan se ut som dette er dynamikken for de utrente opprørerne i Libya: Raskt inn og raskt ut igjen.