Sunni Arab Muslims constitute 65 percent of the Syrian population, while Sunni Kurds amount to another 9 percent, bringing the total Sunni Muslims to 74 percent. Shia Muslims number 13 percent, most of which are of the moderate Alawite sect, amounting to 11 percent of the total population. Another 3 percent are Druze, a monotheistic Abrahamic faith, similar to Islam that has adopted the ritualistic pillars of Islam. Once numerous in Syria, the Jews have virtually disappeared by emigration or extermination under the influence of the genocidal Ottoman Empire, which was broken up after World War I.
Although the Alawites represent only about 11 percent of the Syrian population, they dominate the ruling class of government and the military. They are very unusual in that their brand of Islam is syncretistic, especially in regard to Christianity. They have been called mystic and secretive in protecting their religion from outside persecution, especially by Sunni Muslims. They reputedly venerate Ali, Muhammad, Christ, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle and celebrate Christmas, Easter, and several Christian holidays. The heart of their theology is that the supreme god is manifested in a triad of three aspects, which have been manifested at various times in history by historical persons. They celebrate a Mass with wine and bread. The Alawites have enjoyed close economic connections with Syrian Christians and have been politically supportive of them. They tend to be nationalist rather than pan-Islamic.
The Alawites are the largest of any sect of Islam that can genuinely be called “moderate.” If the minority Alawite regime does not survive the Syrian Civil War, the fates of the Christians, Alawites, and Druze are in very serious question. The fundamentalist Islam of the vast majority of Sunni and Shia Islam clerics and scholars consider Alawite theology and practice heretical, which carries the death penalty under Sharia Law. (al-Misri O8.2).
An astonishing 9.5 million Syrians are now regarded as displaced from their homes. Of these, approximately 4.0 million are dispersed outside the country. While the Christians in Syria probably have the most to lose materially by fleeing the ongoing civil war in Syria, it is even more astonishing and curious that Syrian refugees in the U.S. and Europe are over 96 percent Sunni Muslim and less than one percent are Christians. Syrian refugees to the U.S. are “vetted” by the United Nations, which is heavily influenced by the 57-member Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Syrian Christians consider their refugee camps dangerous and prejudiced against Christians.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, of course, is as his father was, an Alawite. History has proved that lasting order in majority-Muslim countries has required strong leadership. Survival has usually required leadership styles and police powers uncomfortable to Western ideals. However, using lethal gasses, particularly on civilian populations, should be far beyond any humane moral standard. The circumstantial evidence is strong that Assad’s Air Force did violate this crucial standard of humanity. Therefore, I agree with President Trump’s precise and limited military action aimed at halting such atrocities by a substantive action and stern warning.
I have some strong reservations about regime change, however. If power passes to the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Sunni Arab majority, it could result in genocides rivaling the Ottoman genocides of Armenian, Greek, Maronite, and Assyrian Christians from 1894 through 1923. According to Dr. Rudolph Rummel, between 3.5 and 4.3 million Christians were exterminated by various Ottoman Turkish regimes. In 1914, Turkey was 19 percent Christian. Now it is only 0.2 percent Christian.
It is important to note that the Syrian Civil War is not about the touted democratic reform of the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s objective of Takfir. This is the policy of declaring secularist Muslims to be non-Muslims. Politically this means replacing secularist Muslim leadership in the Middle East with salafists (fundamentalist revivalists) fully committed to Jihad against the West and all non-Muslims. They were successful with President Obama’s help in ousting Egypt’s Mubarak, a long-time trusted ally of the U.S. and replacing him with a Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi. Fortunately, he was forced out by the Army and replaced by General Abdel el-Sisi, who just visited President Trump.
There are some who believe that the alleged Syrian nerve gas attacks were part of “false flag” operations by Muslim Brotherhood salafists. After all, nerve gas attacks have had the effect of turning possible Western allies away from Assad support. A nerve gas attack by Assad seems incredibly stupid and out of character for a man who was an ophthalmologist in London before his older brother, Bassel, the trained heir apparent to President Hafez al-Assad, died in an auto accident in 1994. It is the Muslim Brotherhood and its Hamas, al-Qaeda, and ISIS offspring that stand to reap the greatest benefit of this inhumane disaster. Our intelligence services were thoroughly infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood under President Obama and may be the most blighted part of the swamp that needs to be drained. I pray our intelligence has not been subverted in this instance. President Trump should take heed that besides most Republicans, his actions were applauded by Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and radical Syrian rebel groups whose objective is to impose Sharia Law on all Syria.
In 1963, President Kennedy approved a regime change in South Vietnam that threw the South Vietnamese government and armed forces into chaos for over two years. Americans as well as South Vietnamese paid a high price for what both Presidents Johnson and Nixon later said was the greatest mistake of the Vietnam War.
I believe President Trump did precisely the right thing, according to his best intelligence estimates, but from here I have concerns about the survival of 1.7 million Christians and 1.7 million moderate Alawite Muslims in Syria.