Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sectarianism Bites into Syria's Rebels

By Robert Fisk

"....Bashar Assad received some advice last month from a Syrian with whom he is acquainted: if he ended his strikes against civilians, the Europeans would be content to let him remain in power for at least two more years – because the west wanted direct oil pipelines from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Jordan and Syria to the Mediterranean in order to end Russia's stranglehold on Europe's gas and oil. Assad's reply came in his last speech. "There are people with patriotic intentions," he said. "But they don't know the nature of the conflict." All the evidence suggests that it is Assad himself who has not grasped the "nature" of this conflict.

Two of his relatives, however, do apparently understand it. Mohamed Makhlouf, the president's uncle on his mother's side, and his son Rami, Assad's first cousin, have been seeking a deal with the French government to allow them to live in exile in Paris if the regime collapses. The Makhloufs have been at the centre of the government's corruption in Syria and they are one of the reasons for the revolt and its 17,000 fatalities. For despite the dictatorship and its secret police apparatus, corruption was the glue that held the regime together......"

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