This post originally appeared on Anthropology of Accord on September 14, 2015. Click here to read our Map on Monday: SYRIA post.
An update on how the election of Donald Trump may effect an alliance with Russia and Syria’s Assad. This would bring a dramatic change of strategy which we have advocated for several years.
The most significant voice one should hear on Syria is from the University of Oklahoma. Again we find far from the DC think tanks (though he has spoken to them) real academic experts who know their disciplines but have not risen as high as they might among the Eastern elite. Joshua Landis (b1957) grew up in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. He is fluent in French and Arabic. He heads Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies and runs the always astute Syria Comment blog. This excellent interview and summary includes alternatives for the Trump administration. Landis concludes that the Russians and Assad read the situation much more accurately than US policymakers. The democracy revolution of Senator McCain and Secretary Clinton was western hubris. By arming the revolution which failed we added to the death toll without advancing freedom. Democracy was never a goal of the participants and the idea of a unified Syrian national identity apart from the Assad coalition is a fantasy.
The shift in policy toward a concert of the civilized nations received a huge boost in late 2016 as a rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt developed on Syrian policy. The Egyptians have come to see the destabilization of Syria’s Assad is a prescription for disaster. A major emphasis in the realignment of forces should be supporting Egypt as a responsible Sunni Arab nation state ready to help extricate the demonic Salafist influence from Islam.