Syria’s mix of political, economic, religious problems

Syrians walk down a destroyed street in Aleppo’s al-Akroub neighbourhood on December 17, 2016. Youssef KARWASHAN / AFP

Sir: The war in Syria is one that wouldn’t end without the super powers really coming together to end it. It strikes me as the same case with WW1 where the axis of power aligned wrongly to start a war that led to the deaths of 10 million people. There doesn’t appear to be a consensual ideological orientation between Persians (Iran) who are largely Shia and Saudi Arabia (Arab) who are largely Sunni.

Bashir Al-Assad, president of Syria is a Shia muslim. The Shia in Syria are in the minority but rule the majority Sunni, in the same way that Saddam Hussein was a Sunni minority Muslim who ruled over the majority Shia in Iraq. At the death of Saddam, the Shia took over and during the reign of Nuru Al-Maliki began to deal ruthlessly with the minority Sunni. In the long run, this heralded the emergence of ISIS.

Iran, a wholly majority Shia Muslim country, supports Assad (a Shia) to vanquish the majority Sunni in Syria. To do this they bring in Hezbollah(Shia),an Iranian.

Shia-funded terrorist group from Lebanon to fight alongside Assad’s Shia fighters as well as hundreds of thousands of its military officers. Russia wants to have an influence in the Persian gulf and, with Iran, sides with Al-Assad to fight the Syrian rebels but not ISIS.

Saudi Arabia is a largely Sunni country which suspects the apostate Iranian Shia country. And sends money to arm Syrian Sunni fighters to topple Al-Assad. ISIS is Sunni and broke away from Al Qaeda which is equally Sunni. ISIS fought Kurdish people seeking their own country in northern Iraq, attacked Shia Muslims in
Iraq and collected swathes of lands in Iraq and Syria while the whole world concentrated efforts on Al-Assad’s Syria. Until ISIS became the number one terrorist group.‬

Bashir Al Assad fueled the war when during the uprising he fired at and killed Sunni demonstrators and like in Libya, America began to arm Syrian rebels to oust Al-Assad. Defectors from Assad’s army abandoned the armed forces and joined efforts with civilians to oust Assad. This birthed the free Syrian Army. Then came in Russia to Assad’s aid. Then came in Turkey to attack the Kurds, their long time enemy but not ISIS. Turkey, though not Arab or Persian, is a Sunni country. The Kurds, Turkey’s enemy are a secular people to a large number of religions and creeds. In our day, the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslim, in Iraq. You wonder why Turkey bombs Kurds, some of whom are their Sunni brothers?

There is also a minority of Kurds who are Shia Muslims in Iran ( a Shia country). Then came Saudi’s money for arms to Sunni fighters in Syria. Then the shift came of America’s interests from toppling Assad to ISIS. Then Assad had free reign to kill Syrians. Then Trump changing from Obama’s stance, bombed Syria directly. Then, then, then…. Only Persians and Arabs can solve their own problems. But they can’t until the world ends. To think that the Arabs were renowned for astronomy and mathematics when Europe was still in the dark ages. It is a crying-shame that they allowed the Shia-Sunni divide to send them back to the dark ages.

I don’t see a way out.

Simon Abah, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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