Friday 27 July 2012

The news from Damascus


Much to do before I go on holiday but for sure I found time to drink a coffee with a Syrian Christian friend newly arrived in Bucharest from Damascus. We had dinner a couple of times in Damascus in 2006 and since then we have both grown older and he has married and had three children.

My friend tells me 90% of Christians and Muslims in Damascus want the regime to go and so do 50% of Alawis. He thinks it might happen very soon. He suspects the fighting in Homs is ethnic cleansing possibly to create an Alawi mini-state. 

He is a Syrian Christian who has now fled the country, as have many, and said no-one is targetting Christians - although I have read that they have been in Homs. He says the regime have given Alawis arms and want to arm the Christians who have declined the offer. I mentioned Christians leaving Egypt. He says many of his friends are Muslims and a Muslim Brotherhood government need not be a bad thing. We both agreed the regime must go. He suspects the Sunni general who defected recently is just theatre and he may return to head a new regime much like the old one. He now expects a rapid change in pace leading to regime change or a major war.

He thinks regime change is needed and so now do I, although previously I had thought the regime might be the less evil - I think it is inevitable too though not necessarily nearly as quickly or easily as my friend hopes.

He came to Bucharest for what he hopes will be a month's holiday because of the situation in Damascus, which is no longer safe for someone with young children. He is glad he came last week not this week after the recent killings. He says in a month  there may well have  have been a climacteric, regime change. 

Neither he nor anyone knows though I assume the Americans and British are using their influence to get rid of Mr. Assad and replace him by the second tier of the regime which can make peace and call elections. Who knows what the Iranians and Russians and Saudis are doing or Al Qaeda.

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