3 alternative forklaringer på borgerkrigen i Syrien

Vi starter  med den tidsmæssigt mest nære forklaring. En tørke skabt af globale klimaforandringer har forskubbet Syrien delikate sociale og politiske balancer, skriver Peter Sinclair for Climate Crocks

On September 2, The Atlantic published portions of a memorandum by William Polk, a former State Department policy planner, on the situation in Syria. The memorandum is long and detailed, but there is a section of particular relevance to those concerned about climate change and its effects.

Syria has been convulsed by civil war since climate change came to Syria with a vengeance. Drought devastated the country from 2006 to 2011.  Rainfall in most of the country fell below eight inches (20 cm) a year, the absolute minimum needed to sustain un-irrigated farming. Desperate for water, farmers began to tap aquifers with tens of thousands of new well.  But, as they did, the water table quickly dropped to a level below which their pumps could lift it.

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Commodity Intelligence Report, May 9, 2008

In some areas, all agriculture ceased.  In others crop failures reached 75%.  And generally as much as 85% of livestock died of thirst or hunger.  Hundreds of thousands  of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their farms and fled to the cities and towns in search of almost non-existent jobs and severely short food supplies.  Outside observers including UN experts estimated that between 2 and 3  million of Syria’s 10 million rural inhabitants were reduced to “extreme poverty.”

The domestic Syrian refugees immediately found that they had to compete not only with one another for scarce food, water and jobs, but also with the already existing foreign refugee population.  Syria already was a refuge for quarter of a million Palestinians and about a hundred thousand people who had fled the war and occupation of Iraq.  Formerly prosperous farmers were lucky to get jobs as hawkers or street sweepers.  And in the desperation of the times, hostilities erupted among groups that were competing just to survive.

Survival was the key issue.  The senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Syria turned to the USAID program for help. Terming the situation “a perfect storm,” in November 2008, he warned  that Syria faced “social destruction.” He noted that the Syrian Minister of Agriculture had “stated publicly that [the]  economic and social fallout from the drought was ‘beyond our capacity as a country to deal with.’”  But, his appeal fell on deaf ears:  the USAID director commented that “we question whether limited USG resources should be directed toward this appeal at this time.”  (reported on November 26, 2008 in cable 08DAMASCUS847_a to Washington and “leaked” to Wikileaks )

Whether or not this was a wise decision, we now know that the Syrian government made the situation much worse by its next action. Lured by the high price of wheat on the world market, it sold its reserves. In 2006, according to the US Department of Agriculture, it sold 1,500,000 metric tons or twice as much as in the previous year.  The next year it had little left to export; in 2008 and for the rest of the drought years it had to import enough wheat to keep its citizens alive.

So tens of thousands of frightened, angry, hungry and impoverished former farmers flooded constituted a “tinder” that was ready to catch fire.  The spark was struck on March 15, 2011  when a relatively small group gathered in the town of Daraa to protest against government failure to help them.  Instead of meeting with the protestors and at least hearing their complaints, the government cracked down on them as subversives.  The Assads, who had ruled the country since 1971,  were not known for political openness or popular sensitivity.   And their action backfired.  Riots broke out all over the country,  As they did, the Assads attempted to quell them with military force.  They failed to do so and, as outside help – money from the Gulf states and Muslim “freedom fighters” from  the rest of the world – poured into the country, the government lost control over 30% of the country’s rural areas and perhaps half of its population.  By the spring of 2013, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), upwards of 100,000 people had been killed in the fighting, perhaps 2 million have lost their homes and upwards of 2 million have fled abroad.  Additionally, vast amounts of infrastructure, virtually whole cities like Aleppo, have been destroyed.

Despite these tragic losses, the war is now thought to be stalemated: the government cannot be destroyed and the rebels cannot be defeated.  The reasons are not only military: they are partly economic– there is little to which the rebels could return;  partly political – the government has managed to retain the loyalty of a large part of the majority Muslim community which comprises the bulk of its army and civil service whereas the rebels, as I have mentioned, are fractured into many mutually hostile groups;  and partly administrative  – by and large the government’s  structure has held together and functions satisfactorily whereas the rebels have no single government.

One of my greatest concerns for the short to medium term impacts of climate change is the effects that extreme events will have on fragile governments in unstable areas of the world. Climate change did not create the fundamental instability in countries like Syria, and Pakistan – colonialism, religion, and tribal animosities have a long legacy in those countries, and arguably, the paranoid dictatorial regimes in those areas are a rational response to the forces that would otherwise split these countries apart.

Climate change, however, is adding a new dynamic to the game. This is why the US military has identified climate change as a “threat multiplier”.

Går vi lidt længere tilbage i tid finder vi, at det var Sovjetunionens rænkespil helt op til den manipulerende Gorbachov, der lystigt busede på for at få lidt god gedigen jødehad spredt i Mellemøsten og designede intifadaer og flyterror, som man kan læse på Tablet

Stroilov’s book about these documents, many only now translated into English, challenges the conventional wisdom that Western colonialists are to blame for the chaos in the region. All of its major conflicts, he argues, were caused by Soviet expansionism. Terrorism and the rabid anti-Israeli animus of the Arab world were Soviet inspirations. And the revolutions we are seeing now were inevitable, for the Soviet client states were socialist regimes, and sooner or later socialism exhausts economies and thus the patience of the people who live in them.

(…)

,,,Gorbachev thereafter kept it in mind that turning Egypt away from the United States might be feasible. Meanwhile, he worked strenuously to unite the Red Arabs with the aim of expelling the United States completely from the region. In page upon page of these transcripts, we see him striving toward this goal, particularly in his meetings with Hafez Assad:

GORBACHEV. […] The Soviet Union, given the capabilities it has, is also prepared to contribute to the unification of the Arab ranks. Of course, our enemies won’t miss the opportunity to present our honest efforts as “Moscow’s conspiracy,” so we should act accurately and carefully. In any case, you can count on our support. [...] A success of this cause would be a great historic victory with tremendous consequences.

In 1986, as the series of Politburo memos shows, the Syrians proudly reported that they had destroyed the prospect of peace between Israel and Jordan, “wrecked” cooperation between Jordan and the Palestinians, and “effectively blocked” President Ronald Reagan’s peace plan. Gorbachev encouraged them to continue their efforts, lauding Syria’s defense of the “progressive” forces of the Middle East. Gorbachev could rightly claim credit for undermining any prospects for regional peace in the 1980s.

Men kommunister og klimaforandringer har blot løbet åbne døre ind, hvis vi skal tro Assads farfar ifølge Elder of Ziyon

4. The spirit of fanaticism and narrow-mindedness, whose roots are deep in the heart of the Arab Muslims toward all those who are not Muslim, is the spirit that continually feeds the Islamic religion, and therefore there is no hope that the situation will change. If the Mandate is cancelled, the danger of death and destruction will be a threat upon the minorities in Syria, even if the cancellation [of the Mandate] will decree freedom of thought and freedom of religion. Why, even today we see how the Muslim residents of Damascus force the Jews who live under their auspices to sign a document in which they are forbidden to send food to their Jewish brothers who are suffering from the disaster in Palestine [in the days of the great Arab rebellion], the situation of the Jews in Palestine being the strongest and most concrete proof of the importance of the religious problem among the Muslim Arabs toward anyone who does not belong to Islam. Those good Jews, who have brought to the Muslim Arabs civilization and peace, and have spread wealth and prosperity to the land of Palestine, have not hurt anyone and have not taken anything by force, and nevertheless the Muslims have declared holy war against them and have not hesitated to slaughter their children and their women despite the fact that England is in Palestine and France is in Syria. Therefore a black future awaits the Jews and the other minorities if the Mandate is cancelled and Muslim Syria is unified with Muslim Palestine. This union is the ultimate goal of the Muslim Arabs.

Ja, mon ikke. Arabere er, hvad arabere er.

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