Thu Aug 16, 2012, 09:48 PM
UnrepentantLiberal (11,700 posts)
If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed
By Robert Fisk
25 Aug 2012
'Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' th' Tiger," Macbeth's First Witch announces, but Shakespeare got his geography a bit wrong. Aleppo is 70 miles from the Mediterranean. It's certainly ancient; Aleppo was mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of Ebla in the third millennium BC and belonged to the Hittites and the Emperor Justinian, its 14th-century citadel walls still lowering today over the revolutionary capital of northern Syria.
And that's the point. While the drama of last week's assault on Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus stunned the Arab world, the sudden outbreak of violence in Aleppo this weekend was in one way far more important. For Aleppo is the richest city in Syria infinitely more so than Damascus and if the revolution has now touched this centre of wealth, then the tacit agreement between the Alawite-controlled government and the Sunni middle classes must truly be cracking.
As the birthplace of agriculture the Euphrates is only 70 miles to the east Aleppo is also the headquarters of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (Icarda), one of the finest institutions of its kind in the world. It increases food production in Asia and Africa in an area containing a billion people, 50 per cent of whom earn their living from agriculture. Donors include Britain, Canada, the US, Germany, Holland, the World Bank you name it. And its 500 employees are still operating in Aleppo.
Alas, its principal research station at Tel Hadya, 20 miles from Aleppo, was raided by gunmen who stole vehicles to use them as "technicals" mounted with machine guns along with farm machinery and computers. Mercifully, Icarda's gene bank is safe and has been duplicated outside Syria. The Syrian government moved a military checkpoint closer to Icarda's property at Tel Hadya the Syrian ministry of agriculture was always one of the more progressive offices in Damascus but what use this will be in the coming days, we shall see.
1 replies, 558 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed (Original post)
Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)
Fri Aug 17, 2012, 01:01 AM
JayhawkSD (756 posts)
1. Robert Fisk is usually more level headed than this.
German and British reports of activity leading up to and during the battle for Aleppo were absolutely unanimous in saying that the population of Aleppo noticably did not join the rebels. Rebel forces moved into the city and created fortifications, then exhorted locals to join them, which the locals did not do at all. No noticable numbers of the residents of Aleppo were seen to be joining the rebels, so saying now that the "Alawites are joining the rebels" is unfounded and to a large extent contradicted. It's also a bit insane, because this is clearly becoming an ethnic conflict and to the extent that Alawaites are Muslim at all, they are Shi'ite, and the rebels are Sunni.