The title of a recently released Yahoo! article is “FEARING STARK FUTURE (?), Syrian Alawites meet in Cairo” (Web-site/URL: http://news.yahoo.com/fearing-stark-future-syrian-alawites-meet-cairo-011732860.html).
“Followers of the religion of Bashar al-Assad who OPPOSE the Syrian president met in Cairo on Saturday (March 23, 2013) to support a democratic alternative to his rule, seeking to untangle HIS FATE from THEIR OWN“.
“In the first meeting of its kind by Alawites who SUPPORT THE REVOLT, delegates aimed to draft a declaration supporting a UNITED (?) Syria and to invite other opposition groups to cooperate on preventing sectarian bloodletting IF Assad falls“. There are TWO things to note here. First, very few people are “united” these days. Also this is the latest “if”, which, of course, IS NOT a guarantee,
According to veteran opposition campaigner Bassam al-Youssef, “an Alawite who spent more than a decade in jail under THE IRON RULE of Assad’s father, the late President HAFEZ al-Assad”, “We are inviting all of the opposition to confront the SECTARIAN problem BEING IGNITED BY the regime. The last card the regime can now play is CIVIL WAR and THE PARTITION OF Syria”.
According to a Western diplomat, “The meeting is happening almost two years late”. We should have addressed this issue (i.e. SYRIA) in 2011 when this mess started. Let’s also note that this “Western diplomat” is speaking on condition of anonymity/requesting not to be identified because this is an EXTREMELY SENSITIVE/DANGEROUS situation. “But it will help disassociate the sect (Alawites) from Assad. Every effort is needed now TO PREVENT A WIDE-SPREAD SECTARIAN BLOODBATH when Assad eventually goes, in which the Alawites would be the main losers“.
“Assad has said he is fighting a foreign-backed conspiracy to divide Syria and that the rebel forces are Islamist “terrorists“, which, again, is a word that we’ve seen/read/heard over and over and over again.
“A statement by the organizing committee of the Alawite conference said: “The regime, which is becoming more ISOLATED and WEAK, is working on turning sectarian zealotry into bloodshed. There are ANTI-regime forces also PUSHING TOWARD SECTARIAN WARFARE“.
“Among prominent Alawites currently in jail is FREE SPEECH ADVOCATE Mazen Darwish, who worked on documenting the victims of the crackdown against the revolt, and Abdelaziz al-Khayyer, a centrist politician who advocated PEACEFUL transition to democratic rule“.
Finally, “Issam al-Youssef, another activist who is helping organize the conference, said the uprising had given the Alawites a chance to show the sect WAS NOT monolithic (rigid) and that it aspired like the rest of the population to live under a multi-party democracy, while FEARING the rise of Islamist extremism”.
“Youssef recalled taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration at the beginning of the uprising in the Sunni district of al-Khalidiya in the central city of Homs when the protesters came under attack by a PRO-Assad militia”.
“A group of us took refuge in a house and the house owner, who did not know I was Alawite, began CURSING Alawites. When my comrades told him I was one, he came to me and GAVE ME THE KEYS TO HIS HOUSE. We are IN A SECTARIAN CRISIS and the political forces of the opposition are FALLING INTO A SERIOUS ERROR by NOT discussing it“.
“He said the document that would emerge from the conference “will affirm Alawite commitment to NATIONAL UNITY and INTER-COMMUNAL EXISTENCE and CIVIC PEACE“, mirroring a stance the sect’s leaders took during French colonial rule in the 1920s in opposition to proposals for partition of the country”.
“There is an ISLAMIST current that is expanding AT THE EXPENSE OF the democratic civic current which needs to UNITE. We as Alawites are SYRIANS first. We are trying to be part of A REAL CHANGE“.
.So, SYRIA is now ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE/ALL OUT CIVIL WAR AS WELL.