World View: Damascus Bombing Marks a Significant Change in Syria
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Armed fighting continues across Syria
- Damascus bombing marks a significant change in Syria
- Taiwan's weather bureau joins the fight for control of the South China Sea
- U.S. to accept 'Taiwan' on entry forms
Armed fighting continues across Syria
Syrian rebels stand on a tank in Aleppo (EPA)
Damascus, the capital city of Syria, is in a tense calm after six days of intense fighting, centered around a bombing that killed four of Bashar al-Assad's inner circle. The army has deployed tanks and helicopter gunships to expel the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) from Damascus, but the uprising is spreading to other areas of Syria that were used to be relatively quiet. There's violence in Aleppo, which has been mostly quiet in the past because it is largely Alewite and Christian. In eastern Syria, the FSA has taken control of border checkpoints into Turkey and Iraq, cutting off trade to Damascus. The crossing into Erbil, Iraq, is especially significant because this is a crossing from the Kurdish regions of Syria. The Kurds have been supporters of al-Assad, but FSA control of this checkpoint could mean that the Kurds are turning against al-Assad. Al-Jazeera and Bloomberg
Damascus bombing marks a significant change in SyriaNews reports from all over Syria indicate that there's been a significant change in the situation in Syria. It didn't begin with Wednesday's bombing. During the last few weeks, there have been significant political and military defections, especially among the Sunni leaders who are necessary to give credibility to Bashar al-Assad. The bombing was a culmination of the defections, in the sense that it showed that the balance of power has changed, and that al-Assad has lost his iron grip on the country, and there may be almost no one left he can trust. Al-Assad himself is in hiding somewhere, while rumors are spreading that his wife and children are Moscow.
Al-Assad's ethnic group, the Alawites, comprise 12% of the population, but the Alawite communities always felt secure because al-Assad had the country in an iron grip. That sense of security is gone now, as the majority Sunni community seems to be taking charge.
Syria is in a generational Awakening era because only one generation has passed since the bloody, genocidal civil war that climaxed with the slaughter of tens of thousands in 1982. An Awakening era is always a generational political battle between the survivors of that war and the young people growing up after that war. The Awakening era always ends with a climactic event that establishes the victor between these two generations, almost always the younger generation. America's last Awakening era was the 60s and 70s, climaxing in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Though we won't know for sure until it's all over, Wednesday's bombing has all the earmarks of an Awakening era climax. Al-Assad and his small Alawite majority had been ruling through fear, but now the fear of al-Assad is receding as if a curse had been lifted. It's possible that things will move very quickly now, and it's even possible that Syria's civil war will collapse within a month, with al-Assad gone and all sides forming a unity government. Today, right now, that's what appears to be going on, but we can't be sure that al-Assad won't be able to carry on for a while longer, thanks to the help from his pals in Russia, Iran and Hizbollah.
An Awakening era civil war is faced with very powerful generational forces to end in some sort of compromise. The Iraq war makes an interesting comparison. The event that triggered the Awakening era climax was the bombing of the al-Askariya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, in February 2006 by al-Qaeda in Iraq. That triggered a Sunni-Shia civil war that might have ended much more quickly, had it not been for a great deal of outside support for al-Qaeda. We now know that Bashar al-Assad was actively helping al-Qaeda in Iraq, but we should not forget that powerful help of American news organizations, including the NY Times and NBC News, who coordinated their news cycles with al-Qaeda in Iraq to give them maximum help. These news organizations may be responsible for the deaths of thousands of additional people by prolonging the war. The powerful generational forces to end the war were countered by powerful forces supporting the war -- al-Qaeda, Syria and American news organizations.
Despite all that support given to al-Qaeda, the generational forces finally won out in 2007, when the civil war finally collapsed. See: "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq"
So now, returning to Syria, we have equally powerful generational forces driving toward a compromise, while we have Russia, Iran and Hizbollah providing weapons and support to al-Assad with the objective of keeping the war going. So we have two powerful forces driving the course of the war in opposite directions. The generational forces will win out, because the generational forces always win out, but the time frame is never certain. But right now, today, at this moment, if things keep going the way things are going, it looks like we might be close to a full Awakening era climax, and an end to the war. Reuters and Telegraph (London)
Taiwan's weather bureau joins the fight for control of the South China SeaTaiwan has kept a relatively low profile in the ongoing military and political standoff over control of the South China Sea, but now Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB) is taking a stand. The CWB is modifying its web site to show weather conditions for the Spratly Islands as if they were part of Taiwan's sovereign territory. Taiwan's commercial relationship to the Spratlys is quite complex. Tension is already growing quickly following a military standoff between China and the Philippines last month, and now about 30 Chinese fishing vessels, escorted by armed Chinese warships, have arrived in the Spratlys for fishing. Taiwan's fishing industry is short of manpower, so Taiwan typically hires about 8,000 fishery migrant workers from the Philippines, and some of those Filipino fishermen may go to fish around the Spratly Islands in Taiwanese boats. There's no way that this will end well. Taipai Times
U.S. to accept 'Taiwan' on entry formsTaiwanese who are entering the United States can now list their country of citizenship as "Taiwan." Formerly, they had to list their country as "China (Taiwan)". Taipai Times
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