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Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:35 AM

Aleppo: How Syria Is Being Destroyed

Charles Glass' grim report from Aleppo in the New York Review of Books. A short excerpt:


Syria’s war is anything its fighters want it to be. It is a class war of the suburban proletariat against a state army financed by the bourgeoisie. It is a sectarian war in which the Sunni Arab majority is fighting to displace an Alawi ruling class. It is a holy war of Sunni Muslims against all manifestations of Shiism, especially the Alawite variety. The social understandings on which Aleppo prided itself are unraveling. Muslim fundamentalists have targeted Christian churches and Shiite mosques. Arabs have fought Kurds. Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis have crossed the border to fight each other in Syria.

Emigration, a remote option last April, has become common among those with the money, languages, and education to make livings outside. A civil engineer who has served years in prison for criticizing the regime said, “Syrians are destroying each other. Education, how to live together, it’s all being destroyed. You can see it in the official workplaces. The attitudes are different. People who were not religious, even Communists, are becoming more religious.” An uprising that began in March 2011 with the modest hope of reforming the country has degenerated into a Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes.

One’s choice of armies depends on experience. Those who have been tortured by government security forces look to the Free Army for deliverance, while anyone whose son or father has been kidnapped by the Free Army demands government protection. During the six months since my last visit to Aleppo, opinions shifted in unexpected ways. The Christians were for the most part in favor of the regime or neutral, hoping to avoid the attentions of either side. When I met the Syrian Orthodox metropolitan of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, at Easter, he said with an encouraging laugh, “Am I worried? Yes. Am I afraid? No.” Aleppo was quiet, though conflicts in the rest of Syria were clear harbingers of the earthquake about to hit. At the time, Mar Gregorios was convinced that the regime and the opposition could resolve their differences: “If we solve our internal problem and sit down and talk, we can have a constructive dialogue. We can gradually rebuild our society.” As bishop of a small community of about 200,000 in Syria, he accepted that the regime had protected Christians while avoiding a commitment to either side.

Now, however, his worry has turned to fear. On the night I saw him in the sheltered confines of his rectory in the middle of Aleppo, he had just received a shock. “I was optimistic for the last weeks, but I visited my school today. Out of 550 students, only fifty are left.” Along with his discovery that every day about twenty of his local congregation were receiving visas for foreign countries, the collapse of the school had changed him from the jocular, relaxed prelate I met in October to a profoundly shaken man with little hope for his country’s future. “The issue now,” he said, “is how to convince the president to step down.” This was the first time I had heard a Christian bishop call for Bashar al-Assad to end the war by leaving office.

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Reply Aleppo: How Syria Is Being Destroyed (Original post)
Jim__ Dec 2012 OP
jody Dec 2012 #1
John2 Dec 2012 #2
jody Dec 2012 #3

Response to Jim__ (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:43 AM

1. First Afghanistan, then Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and soon Syria will be destroyed.


Pakistan is also threatened.

Can Saudi Arabia and surrounding monarchies be far behind?

The US' goal in the Middle East will soon be finished and we'll have only one small pocket of quasi friends left.

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Response to jody (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 11:58 AM

2. What is the Goal


in the Middle East for the U.S.?

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Response to John2 (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:42 PM

3. Only Bush-43 & Obama know for certain if anyone does. nt


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