The Syrian War Condensed: A more Rigorous Way to Look at the Conflict
Juxtaposition. The way to analyze the situation is to look at the factions comparatively. You do not compare Assad’s regime to the Danish or Norwegian governments, but to the alternative. The question becomes if there is anything in the left column that is worse than the right column?
Comment 1. Assad father’s operatives blew up my house in Amioun when my grandfather, then MP, voted for Bashir. In Skin in the Game I discuss this as “acting against one’s interest” (the opposite of conflict of interest). So as a scientist and a humanist, I have been setting my grudge aside in considering the far, far, far, greater cancer of Salafism or Islamofascism.
Also note that the collapse of the Syrian state was anticipated in The Black Swan owing to such overcentralization.
Comment 2. Recall that I am a statistician. When I took a look at the statistics of the conflicts, most appear to be fabrications inflated by Qatari-funded think tanks and their useful idiots — by a mechanism the Indians call “Salma told Sabrina”. For instance, we know that Hama’s toll was not the 30–40,000 people report but the only real evidence is closer to 2,000.
Comment 3. One may ask: are the “rebels” all theocratic Salafis? No, but the groups became progressively so by the minority rule: you put a single Salafi in a group of five, and the five behave as Salafis. This, aside from Wahabi funding.
Comment 4. Counter-insurgencies (Army vs insurgents/terrorists, etc.) command a much higher rate of civilian casualties regardless of whether the army belongs to a liberal democracy or an autocracy.
Comment 5. One may ask: are all people who are mourning the defeat of the rebels in Aleppo that stupid, so gullible to the think tank operators? My answer, alas, is yes. And it takes some financial and intellectual independence and a great deal of integrity to analyze matters outside the main narrative as think tankers jump on you like flies.
In the end I never imagined seeing the “left” siding with the AlQaeda of Sept 11, mourning the fighters of Aleppo and, aside from such independent journalists as Robert Fisk, spreading all manner of concoctions.
Note 1. The fragility and impending collapse of the Syrian Baathist state was anticipated in 2007 in The Black Swan p 205 and discussed further in my Foreign Affairs article The Black Swan of Cairo.
PS: Nassim Taleb is from Leanon, the neighbour state of Syria. His parents home in Aioun (Lebanon) was destroyed by the troups of Assad’s father, because Taleb’s Grandfather voted for Baschir (Gemayel) in an election.