Syria: Is there any way this can end well?

That is, can the present situation end with the Assad regime gone, without any really horrible stuff along the way or after, like a really bloody civil war, or ethnic strife/ethnic cleansing? Libya was a simpler social situation, its divisions were regional and tribal, but practically everybody was a Sunni Muslim and an Arabic-speaking Berber. In Syria, 90% of the people are Levantine Arabs; the rest are Kurds, Armenians, Turkmens, etc. Since the Kurds are concentrated in the northeastern sliver of the country, if the state falls I could see them making a bid for independence, or autonomy, or union with Iraqi Kurdistan. More disturbingly:

And the Assad regime is Alawite. Rather the reverse of the situation in Saddam’s Iraq, where a Sunni minority predominated over a Shi’a majority. And just as volatile.

So, is there any chance this situation won’t lead to the kind of religious-ethnic cleansing we saw in Iraq? Is there any way that can be avoided?

Fire, explosions and blood. Much, much blood.

I predict Assad will do a Beria. Dead in a basement on his knees.

Funny how despite being reverse both regimes were Baathist although Syria fought with us in the First Gulf War which was also weird IMO.

You say that as if “Levantine Arab” was some sort of cohesive ethnic group in Syria. Read a little deeper in the wikipedia article.

Horrible compared to what?

16,000+ children starve to death every day in the world. That’s about 670 per hour, or 10-11 kids dying of starvation every minute.

Syria is already a problem country in the Middle East (lacking oil), especially in the northeast area. So the likely death toll from starvation in Syria (kids alone) is probably 1,500 or so per month. Given the months that this has gone on already, they have probably lost 10,000-12,000 of their future generation so far.

The death toll in the Egyptian revolution was only 800-900 people, with just 2,000-3,000 injured. The longer Libyan revolution/civil war is estimated at 6.000-9,000 civilians killed (plus about 15,000 soldiers).

Revolutions or other government changes are minor blips in the mortality rate.
Compared to their continued neglect of their population, the death of even hundreds of government leaders and a few thousand of their followers or soldiers is barely statistically significant. And the new government often pays attention to improving the lot of its citizens, at least for a while.

So the eventual ‘regime change’ in Syria will probably be bloody & violent, but not particularly horrible for most citizens; likely to lead to improvement, eventually.

Improvement? That depends on who you are. If you’re a Sunni Muslim, yes, maybe or maybe not if you’re another group. Also Syria is a stabilizing influence in Lebanon too.


The Soviets stabilized Eastern European politics too.

But, Iraq’s regime change was particularly horrible for most citizens, that’s what I’m hoping can be avoided in Syria’s case. And I’m not talking about what the Coalition forces did to the country, I’m talking about all the things Iraqis were suddenly set free to do to each other – Shi’a driving Sunnis out of the neighborhood and vice-versa, millions of internal refugees, etc. Can all of that be avoided in Syria’s case?

Did the American Revolution end well? It cost about 100,000 dead and wounded according to Wiki, and the American Civil War cost many more. What are your acceptable cost and time-frame before it can be declared to have ended well?

I’d say it’s a reasonably desirable outcome if the bloodshed during and following the civil war/regime change is, proportionally to the country’s population, not much worse than it was in Libya. But I’m afraid it will be much worse, because the social-ethnic-religious situation in Syria more nearly resembles pre-invasion Iraq than Gaddafi’s Libya.

Read the article, not clear what you mean. What ethnic, as distinct (if distinguishable) from religious, divisions do you see among Arabic-speaking Syrians?

I agree Syria does stabilize Lebanon. It usually interferes just enough to keep all the different groups in Lebanon equal so one doesn’t overpower the other. It doesn’t mean it makes them Democratic or makes them love each other but it keeps the fighting there to a minimum, plus the sides know that Syria will supply them when Israel invades.

If Syria were to leave Lebanon strictly alone, what would happen then?

I like the Obama doctrine. Shell them from a ship if you can, bombs them from low earth orbit and strafe them with unmanned drones until the despots are kicked out. Rinse repeat until democracy takes hold.

That only works if the country in question has a homegrown rebellion that stands a chance of winning on-its-own-with-a-little-help. Not sure that’s the case in Syria.

Except that in recent years, its favored faction, Hezballah, *has *overpowered the other groups, to the point that it’s almost the de factor Lebanese government.

We’d probably have a redo of the Lebanese Civil War.

I think the US should work up a Number 6 on Syria.

:confused: Spirit the whole country away to The Village?