Syria: The Convenient Battlefield
That is what the Syrian war has become. At first, it was a modest search for freedom that has blossomed into a major grudge match between numerous groups: Sunni, Shiite and Alawites, not to mention a sprinkling of terrorist groups that are covert.
The battle is now entering Damascus in a ferocious manner. Since this has occurred, between 9000 to 30000 have fled from the urban area into Lebanon. This number is addition to the 112,000 already in the neighboring countries. Damascus has 2.5 million.
As Syria spirals into civil war, Assad may not collapse at all. His clan, the Alawites, an offshoot of the Shiites, seems to be trying to maintain control of the provinces of Latakia, Tartus, Hama, Homs and Damascus. If this does occur, the rest of Syria is up for grabs between Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians. Assad cannot hold all of the provinces in Syria after 17 months of bloodshed. Thus, it is likely Syria will become a series of areas controlled by various groups.
Syria is the place that divides the Arab world, it always has, but much more now. The hatred between the Sunnis and Shiites were propel the war into a venting that means more destruction, more hate. Jordan fears that its own Sunnis will begin to rebel. The Free Syrian Army, now comprising of 20-30,000 rebels, claim to control all of Idlib and Aleppo provinces along the Turkish border. More than 100,000 Syrians have fled into Jordan. Lebanon has always been a smoldering pot of hate between Sunnis and Shiites or those who favor or oppose Iranian influence. Hezbollah is usually a proxy of Iran. Iraq fears that radical Sunnis will cross the border and target Shiites there with car bombs and murder. Along the Israeli border with Syria, which has been very quiet for decades, could suddenly erupt as groups turn their hatred once again on Israel.
And then there are the chemical weapons. Where are they? Who has them? Does Assad control all of them? Have any others groups obtained even a small portion of them? Even if Assad does fall, it does not mean peace. It simply means Syria is up for the taking. Assad may be around for some time controlling the Alawite provinces. It all could end far worse politically for the USA and Israel.
Syria is a real crap shoot.