[Marxism] Fwd: Syria Leader Assad Seeks Russian Protection from Ally Iran - SPIEGEL ONLINE
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Oct 6 19:52:45 MDT 2015
It is, however, primarily in the civilian sector where significant
changes are afoot. Just as in Damascus, Latakia and Jabla, increasing
numbers of hosseiniehs -- Shiite religious teaching centers -- are
opening. The centers are aimed at converting Sunnis, and even the
Alawites, the denomination to which the Assads belong, to "correct"
Shiite Islam by way of sermons and stipends. In addition, the government
decreed one year ago that state-run religion schools were to teach
All of this is taking place to the consternation of the Alawites, who
have begun to voice their displeasure. "They are throwing us back a
thousand years. We don't even wear headscarves and we aren't Shiites,"
Alawites complained on the Jableh News Facebook page. There were also
grumblings when a Shiite mosque opened in Latakia and an imam there
announced: "We don't need you. We need your children and grandchildren."
In addition, Iranian emissaries, either directly or via middlemen, have
been buying land and buildings in Damascus, including almost the entire
former Jewish quarter, and trying to settle Shiites from other countries
Talib Ibrahim, an Alawite communist from Masyaf who fled to the
Netherlands many years ago, summarizes the mood as follows: "Assad wants
the Iranians as fighters, but increasingly they are interfering
ideologically with domestic affairs. The Russians don't do that."
That's why Assad has now decided to place his fate in the hands of the
religiously unproblematic Russia, which last week transferred aircraft
and troops to its military base in the northern Syrian town of Latakia
and began flying airstrikes. The fight against the Islamic State terror
militia served as a pretext for the operation, but the initial air
strikes have not targeted the Islamists at all. Rather, they have been
flown against areas controlled by Syrian rebels.
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