If you have observed, I have not said much about the situation in Syria. This is probably due to the fact that I still know very little about what is really happening, and have not been able to find out much about the opposition.
On the other hand, it is becoming clearing that the majority in the city where there has been the most violence, Homs, happens to be populated with Sunni Muslims. On top of that, there are the separate incidents of violence such as the car bombs as well as the assassination of a top military official that needs to be explained. Could it be that these people are backed by Al Qaeda? I am not sure that is actually the case, BUT, when there has been a blackout on the news it is extremely difficult to verify the facts.
There are a few things that have filtered through and none of them are good news. First of all, Iran provided its Quds force to suppress the protests. This is due to Iran having Syria as a sphere of influence. Iran cannot afford to lose Syria as a satellite state. This means that Iran will continue to back the minority Alawite tribe in Syria.
Second, there is evidence that people from Iraq have been hopping the border and in my view this spells trouble as well as an escalation of hostility. The news reports now talk of Syria sinking into civil war. I am not surprised that it has gone that far.
Third, and this involves the Russia and China veto in the UN. No one should have been surprised over the veto. They did not veto the no-fly zone issue in Libya, but they abstained from the vote, and then the criticism began as soon as the action began complete with the propaganda. There was quite a bit at stake for both China and Russia and they were the losers.
It is this third point which is probably the most relevant because that veto will only prolong the civil strife in Syria. Russia lost a sphere of influence when the Gadhafi regime fell. This was a political blow for them. I am not sure what it meant in terms of oil and gas contracts, but it must have had some result. It also meant an end to the sale of arms to Libya, and through Libya the sale of arms to African governments. China, of course is seeking stronger influence in the Middle East, and so it is not surprise that China goes along with Russia. Russia and China both sell arms to Asshat in Syria. This means that they had to veto any UN action because the loss of Syria as a sphere of influence would be a major blow to them politically and economically.
We can do nothing to prevent all out civil war in Syria. The people there are determined to rid themselves of the Assad regime. They have had enough of the brutality of that regime. It is not clear to me whether or not Al Qaeda is in any way influential, yet there is that element of Sunni vs. Alawite to be considered. It simply does not necessarily translate into the introduction of a Salafist regime. The people behind the revolution have gone underground, and they seem to think that they are ok because they are using the mobile phones of those who have already been killed. In one report that I read via Der Spiegel, I note that there is also a tendency to assume the identity of people who have been killed… as the doctors and orderlies work underground on the wounded. In that report it was noted that the wounded who went to the hospitals were dragged out and killed… which is why the underground hospitals have been created to treat the wounded. What I note is that the people seem to think that by assuming the identity of someone who was killed that they are safe to continue their work…. but is that necessarily true?