Leadership: The International Sunni Plot Against Syria


October 5, 2006: In Syria, the Alawite (an Islamic sect) dictatorship is in big trouble. Under increasing pressure from the UN, regarding Syrian involvement in the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafik Bahaeddin al Hariri in February of 2005, Syrian leader Asad must either act against those in his government who are believed to be responsible, or face significant international sanctions. Although the Israel-Hizbollah War over the Summer gave him some breathing space, the UN is again ratcheting up the pressure. Syrian dictator Bashir Asad's problem is that if he does reshuffle his government, and fire the most obvious suspects, he may face resistance from hard-line Baathist elements, and possibly even a coup. On the other hand, if he ignores the UN, the sanctions may spark popular unrest and even rioting, since the bulk of the Syrian people (who are Sunni) are growing increasingly unhappy about living in poverty brought about by decades of rule by the Alawite minority. Reportedly Asad has initiated security measures that could be useful against either a coup or public disorder. Most Moslem nations are Sunni, and some of them are showing an interest in supporting a Sunni uprising in Syria. Sunni Arabs, in particular, are terrified of Iran, which is Shia Moslem. Iran has long propped up Syria, in part because the Alawites are a Shia sect.


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