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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Whose Perception Needs To Be Changed?
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John Kerry, with the self-assurance that great wealth baselessly confers, thinks he knows all about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, having met him, and according to reports always came away impressed with Al-Assad as a man with whom, as not Kerry but a Republican envoy similarly situated might have said, "one can do business." And among the "businesses" that Kerry had thought worth pursuing, in the past, were "negotiations" with Israel which would, inevitably, have led to Israel once more yielding land, in the Golan, absolutely vital for its northern defenses, in exchange for promises from an Alawite regime that, we now see, is not forever,, and therefore no military planners in Israel ought ever to assume that giving up territory that is militarily essential is worth a "peace treaty" that, for Muslims, can only be a "hudna" or truce treaty. The Sunnis who would replace Assad and the Alawites will not be different from Sunni Muslims elsewhere, and given the influence of Muslim fanatics in rebel ranks, likely to be more dangerous. And even if Assad were to pocket the Golan, even if he and his Alawites no longer wished to tangle with Israel, they are now beholden to the Islamic Republic of Iran, to Khamenei, and the other deceptively soft-spoken devout, and thus nearly insane, Twelver Shi'as who hope to   bring back from his long oscultation the Hidden Imam, which happy day will be hastened by one thing and one thing only - the destruction of that outrageous offense against Islam, the Infidel, and worse the Jewish, state of israel. And even those who are not fixated on the return of the Hidden Imam ardently wish that Iran, and Shi'a, could win respect from the Sunnis, and recognition as fully equal Muslims, and the only way to do that is -- don't stop me if you've heard this before, because you just have -- by ensuring "the destruction of that outrageous offense against Islam, the Infidel, and worse the Jewish, state of israel."

It's not Assad whose "perception": needs to be changed, or at least not his "perception" of the threat to his regime, and to the Alawites, and to other non-Arab or non-Muslim minorities in Syria, from the Sunni Muslims. Or rather, if Assad is in need of changing his "perception," it is in thinking that he can any longer both control Syria and project Syrian power, as a way of attempting to legitimize that Alawite regime, in Lebanon, through that proxy Hezbollah, against Israel. Israel is not a threat to Assad. It will keep him from transferring weapons to Hezbollah, and will destroy stocks of those weapons -- chemical, biological -- that must not be allowed to get loose -- but that's it. For now Assad needs the backing of Iran, its military and financial aid, and is so used to spouting the worst kind of anti-Israel rhetoric. But what has it got him? None of the rebels is impressed by that, nor those in the Gulf who are supporting those rebels with money and whatever arms that money can buy. The aid given to the PFLP and other "Palestinian" terrorist groups has not made the local "Palestinians" at Yarmouk or elsewhere in Syria into stout defenders of the regime. And neither the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, nor the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, have come to the defense of Assad. It was all, in the end, in vain, a great miscalculation. In the same way, the Shi'a rulers of Iran have miscalculated, thinking that their nonstop campaign against Israel willl cause the Sunnis to revise their opinion of the Shi'a. It isn't happening, It won't happen. Shi'a are still being killed, and will continue to be killed, by Sunnis in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Syria. Shi'a are still marginalized, and will continue to be, in Kuwait, and in Bahrain (where the Sunni minority, employing Pakistani Sunni mercenaries, suppresses the Shi'a majority ruthlessly and successfully,. despite all that excitement about the "Arab Spring") . In Saudi Arabia, influential clerics rant against the Shi'a as the worst kind of Infidels -- you can see the anti-Shi'a tapes made by Sunnis, Saudi and other, on YouTube-- and the Shi'a in the Eastern Province are discriminated against, and any hint of Shi'a unrest put  down at once. Eventually someone in the Iranian government has got to realize that they've been hoping against hope, that they are Shi'a, and if they want to survive at all, they had best try to end the sanctions, and instead of building a nuclear weapon, the use of which against Israel would delight Sunnis, but not make them hate Iran or suspect the Shi'a any less, and the retaliatory strike by Israel, were such necessary, would no doubt delight many of the Sunnii Muslims in the world just as much as Iran's strike on Israel and, in the Gulf, perhaps even more.

That's the "perception" that needs to be changed in Iran. Is John Kerry up to that task?

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Posted on 02/14/2013 7:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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