However, if someone tries to provoke you, it’s your responsibility as an adult not to take the bait. I think if he had made a serious effort to dialogue with peaceful protestors in 2011 this mess would not have been so bad.

There’s a reason why the Middle East is ruled by dictatorial strongmen: dialogue with protesters is historically unproductive. I don’t like that reality any more than you do, but it’s reality.

I’m skeptical. Could that be because Kady’s relatives belong to some privileged group in Syria? Are they Alawites?

Middle class Sunnis living in al-Quamishley. They have spent the last five years pinned between the Turkish border, with the town (which has had relatively little violence compared to some) surrounded by ISIS, with the town held primarily by the Kurdish militia (who are definitely some of the good guys in Syria, now and historically) and small contingents of Syrian regulars and perhaps one Russian infantry group.

I have no quarrel with the Truthout quotation. It was pretty clear that after McCain/Graham/Clinton played their regime change hand AND it became clear that the weapons were ending up in ISIS hands, that the US realized that the regime change “thing” wasn’t going to happen; if for no other reason that if Assad actually DID leave, the resulting vacuum would make the post-Hussein Iraq disaster look like a walk in the park.

Now, what was the writer expecting the Obama administration to do? Is he saying they shouldn’t have done anything to promote democracy in Syria?

I think by this time the West should realize that you don’t promote democracy to people who haven’t a clue what it is, ESPECIALLY when a majority of those people believe their religion teaches that democracy is evil. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a Muslim who firmly believes that democracy is what the Prophet had in mind, to a significant extent, but the West seems to believe that democracy is some sort of drug; that if you offer it to people who lack it, all they have to do take it, and suddenly everything will be unicorns and rainbows.

Not so. Democracy can also be used to vote in religious leaders who then vote out the democracy. :-(. Democratic change in the Middle East must be evolutionary and S L O W.

We should tell him that there is no problem with the Baath-controlled regime which suppresses Sunnis, and maybe if we’re nice to him, he will eventually realize he should stop doing that.

Hm. Assad does not engage in religious discrimination; he just wants the place to run smoothly, and the easiest way to get him to engage in cruelty is if he thinks you’re going to use religion-against-religion to create chaos. (His dad taught him that, rather graphically.)

Now, if you’re a Sunni in Syria, that means that PROBABLY you’re below the median income level, and it is common for the poor to blame the government for their plight; Syria’s no different in that regard than the US, although in the US, the rich get blamed, for some reason.

My family’s middle class from the North, and they have no issue with Assad, even though I do have one relative that was a “guest” of his father for a season (the relative was a tad too political). Further, it should be mentioned that although the country is 10% Christian, that 10% accounts for PROBABLY about 50% of GDP. So, if you’re a poor Syrian Sunni, you figure Assad must be biased towards his own people and the Christians, and you run around creating tales of suppression.

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Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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