Syria is one of the oldest places where civilization is believed to have begun. Its capital, Damascus, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Throughout history it has witnessed many changes, violent and otherwise.
Today it consists of a number of ethnic groups, mostly Arabs, although there are a reasonable number of Kurds and Armenians. There were also a number of Iraqi refugees and the main Arab group were themselves from different sects and sects.
In about January 2011, follow up from Arab Spring As protests erupted against the ruling regimes in a number of countries in the Middle East, protesters came out in Syria demanding President Bashar al-Assad and his government to step down. In response, Assad sent troops with some cities and regions besieged for weeks and months. Pro- and anti-government protest rallies were sometimes large.
The crackdown in Syria was widely criticized. The Arab League responded by suspending Syria’s membership. Syria claims that it is fighting an insurgency that is terrorist in nature and that al-Qaeda has been involved. It was not possible to verify this claim, so many consider it a satirical pretext.
The ruling regime is a Shiite sect, so it has the support of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, while the opposition is largely Sunni, and therefore receives support from other Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and others.
Thousands of civilians and armed fighters were killed. Some are asking the West for a military intervention, as happened in Libya, but the United States in particular is not keen on another military intervention even though they have been openly hostile and critical of the Syrian regime for many years.
Also, China and Russia have close relations with Syria and have not yet been keen on any action condemning Syria, but rather have vetoed some measures. Some newspapers reported that Iran and others were helping Syria with weapons, while others reported that the armed opposition was being waged by the West.
The mainstream media coverage is of course part of the issue. Understandably, the regime’s brutal crackdown was met with shock, awe, etc. But the coverage has also been one-sided in the sense that similar types of violence perpetrated by US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan receive not similar criticism, but rather flatter and measured reports. Media Lens covers this point in more detail noting many of the propaganda problems in mainstream media coverage And it’s worth reading.
- The Middle East: A 1300-Year Struggle for Resource
- turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa
- resource control; Supporting dictators, the rise of terrorism
- energy security
- The crisis in Libya
- Syria’s turmoil
- Iraq – 2003 onwards; The war and its consequences and after Saddam
- US/UK Escalation of War on Iraq
- Iraq – After the 1991 Persian Gulf War / Sanctions