Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nir Rosen has an interesting backgrounder on Syria. I don't necessarily agree with some of the predictions in the international arena, but the analysis of internal Syrian divisions is worthwhile:

The insurgency will gradually carve out autonomous zones, from Idlib to Hama to Homs and approaching the suburbs of Damascus. Foreign intelligence agencies will eventually provide covert assistance to the insurgency. But Iranian - and possibly Russian - advisers will likely provide advice to the regime in counter-insurgency. So parts of the country will fall into opposition hands, and parts will remain in the hands of the regime. Alawites in Homs may flee to the villages they originally came from. Christians will flee to their former villages or to Damascus. Both of these trends have already started. Sunni remaining in Latakia will be vulnerable, and in the event of Alawites returning to Latakia's mountain villages, fleeing from other parts of the country, the region's Sunni may also be forcibly displaced.

In this scenario, some villages in rural Hama and Homs governorates will fight between each other. Damascus will see further assassinations and bombings. Working class Alawite neighborhoods of Damascus, where members of the security forces live - such as Ish al Warwar, Mazze 86 and Sumeria - will be besieged, or face reprisals from angry Sunni. In Aleppo, powerful rival Sunni clans - who hate each other and have access to arms - will turn on each other and feud as soon as the state weakens. The elites of Aleppo might once have preferred for the Assads to stay in power, but increasingly they are giving up hope that he can pull them back from the abyss.

The divide in Syria is not merely between Sunnis and Alawites. In Daraa and Suweida, Druze and Bedouins may clash once again. So too with other sects further north in Misyaf.

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