HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 19: SYRIA: A WICKED PROBLEM. HOW IS ISIS SUPPORTING ITSELF LOGISTICALY?
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Syria is a diverse country. The population is 9% Kurdish, 10% Christian, 12% Alawites, 3% Druze, and 70% Sunni. Although the Sunni’s are in the majority, the country is ruled by the Alawite faction thus Syria is not a democracy.
In 2011 as a result of the Arab Spring revolutions across North Africa a series of peaceful protests began in Syria advocating for political and human rights reforms. These peaceful demonstrations were brutally put down by the authoritarian regime led by President Bashar al Assad who assumed the presidency in an unopposed election in 2000 after his father Hafez al-Assad died. Hafez was ruler after seizing power in a bloodless military coup in 1970.
So the al-Assad family has been in power continuously since 1970 despite the fact the country is called The Syrian Arab Republic.
As a result of the brutal repression of the demonstrations, Sunni factions of the army formed the Free Syrian Army organized to protect the people from being killed or interred. Thus the conflict in Syria morphed into a civil war with disparate factions fighting the government independently or sometimes in conjunction.
Seeing the breakdown of law and order other militants entered the fray with their own agenda including ISIS a group claiming to operate under the banner of Islam but in reality is a lawless group of anarchists bent on establishing a caliphate under their atavistic and self-serving interpretation of the Koran and Sharia law. The result; hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, including women and children, have been killed and millions more have become refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other countries.
The Arab League called for a cease fire which the regime, aligned with Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, failed to observe.
The war has now become a sectarian one with Sunni’s on one side backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states and the Alawites a Shiite sect backed by Shiite Iran.
Russia, which has a naval base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast is also a backer of the regime.
Thus the United Nations has been unable to act in any positive way because of Russian opposition.
The UN and the Arab League did appoint former Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, as their Joint Special Envoy on Syria. His task was to bring the regime, the rebels and their backers to the table and agree to a plan to end hostilities. However the regime had no plans to acquiesce to anything that would threaten the Shiite Alawite dominance in Syria over the majority Sunnis.
The U.S was wary of supplying the rebel faction’s arms or even participating in a no fly plan that would be ineffective and may put arms in the wrong hands.
Kofi Annan proposed a six point plan to resolve the conflict similar to a previous Arab League proposal earlier.
1. The regime would pull back their forces and heavy weapons,
2. allow peaceful demonstrations,
3. facilitate humanitarian aid,
4. access by journalists and
5. begin a peaceful transition process to a democratically elected government.
6. The idea was to ratify his plan as a statement rather than a resolution at the UN.
This last part, to call it a UN statement rather than a resolution was to allay Russian fears that the proposal could be used a basis for future military action if the plan was not observed.
Assad agreed and there was a lull in the fighting but then it resumed and none of the other parts of the plan were put into operation.
Kofi Annan resigned as Special envoy because of the failure to implement the plan. Despite continued diplomatic efforts the fighting continues.
ISIS, fortified with oil revenues from captured oil fields and facilities, has become a power player in the region including Iraq where it has seized Mosul and other cities where it has captured more financial assets and military hardware. The Iraqi Army has been routed and military equipment left behind by the US has fallen into the hands of ISIS.
Before Isis invaded Iraq the regime was accused of using chemical weapons and there was evidence that this was true. Under threat from President Obama to use force in the area the regime agreed to give up their chemical weapons. Russia acquiesced to this as a way to prevent military action by the U.S. and others. This agreement was negotiated by John Kerry who succeeded Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
NATO has been notably silent on Syria although France, Britain and Germany have been vocal in condemning the regime.
Turkey has a long border with Syria. It is also a NATO member. Millions of refugees have taken refuge there. Also it is a conduit point for foreign fighters to join ISIS. Yet NATO has been reluctant to become involved. Hillary doesn’t say why if the UN was blocked by Russia she didn’t work through NATO. Perhaps because Russia is close to the NATO countries and could exert pressure on them by cutting off energy supplies and in other ways. Also it appears Turkey wishing to avoid a bloodbath didn’t ask for NATO’S help.
Also she doesn’t say who is supporting ISIS. What supply ports they use for their new Toyota trucks, how they export their oil and what financial facilities they use. Thousands of foreign fighters have to be paid, armed, housed, fed along with the thousands of other details needed to support an Army. Hillary doesn’t say. I doubt it all comes from the areas they conquered. The Guardian had this to say which partly answers the question. Meanwhile the carnage continues.