How might the population of Syria and the region change over the coming years?

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16 February
21:59
17 February
11:51

To understand the future of this region you need to grasp that a new security architecture is being established, in which Iran, Syria and Lebanon are the major powers. They’re known as the Shiite crescent. And this is bad news for Sunnis in the entire region, because they’re losing. Turkey, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have attempted to come in and get the Sunnis a win against Shiites, but they’ve failed.

In that failure Sunnis have been badly brutalised, and they’re continuing to be brutalised because the United States are bombing on the side of the Shiites. In places like Ramadi and Mosul, in Iraq, they’re using a very sectarian Shiite army, backed by Iran, to assert power over ISIS-dominated Sunni regions. That means the US is bombing in favour of Iran, and Russia’s doing the exact same thing in Syria – bombing Sunni regions in favour of a Shiite dominated Damascus.

Two Shiite-dominated militaries, one in Baghdad and one in Damascus, are reasserting their control over the entire Sunni edifice that stretches over Baghdad and Aleppo.

These two Shiite-dominated militaries, one in Baghdad and one in Damascus, are reasserting their control over the entire Sunni edifice that stretches over Baghdad and Aleppo, and they’ve got the two best air forces in the world, US and Russia, at their beck and call. So Sunnis are taking it across both cheeks. I wouldn’t say it’s lights out – I don’t think they’ll be entirely ethnically cleansed – but certainly something that approaches ethnic cleansing is taking place. If Saudi Arabia and Turkey and others continue to provide arms and egg on the Sunni rebellions, they might very well be ethnically cleansed, because Russia, Syria and Iran will escalate and it will turn into even more of a meat grinder. Better to let the Shiites win and Sunnis stay with their tail between their legs and survive.

In Iraq, the cities of Tikrit, Ramadi and Fallujah, for example, have all been taken back from ISIS in the last year. In Ramadi, eighty per cent of the housing stock was uninhabitable by the time the US military had stopped bombing and militias had stopped going from house to house destroying houses they thought would be used by ISIS. The population of that city had to move out and move into tents provided by the UN. They’re all shivering out in the middle of the desert in the middle of winter. And this is what’s happening in cities like Mosul – they’ve been completely devastated.

Maybe the population will return, but maybe they won’t. Many have collaborated with ISIS and they’re worried that the Shiite militias will rip their hearts out, which is a lively and not unfounded fear, so they won’t want to return to their city. In fact, recent reporting has shown there’s a new wave of refugees fleeing to Greek island and they’re almost all Iraqi, because they’re fleeing Mosul and places like that. Everyone’s thinking that people will go home and it will all be alright, but this is a hollow promise, really. Some people will go home, but many who fought with rebel factions, and who are well documented with intelligence, are not going to go home. They’re going to end up sitting in Turkey and other places, rotting away.

The result of this will likely be more terrorism. You just need to look at the Palestinians after 1948, when they were expelled and scattered all over the place, and how much trouble that caused the world. They’ve rotted in various refugee camps and their anger has festered. The problems and instabilities created by ethnic cleansing is only going to be compounded by this most recent paroxysm of inter ethnic hatred and brutality. If the world turns their back on this problem – which it’s likely to do – all these refugees are just going to fester in these camps with no jobs and no futures.

The best response would be if Britain or Germany or somewhere just gave them all citizenship. But we all know that’s not going to happen. We’re going to get bigger walls, and better coastguards, and we’re going to screw these people, at least that’s what I presume. This is what our politicians are telling us, and I believe our politicians. Trump is not wasting any time and it seems to be really popular.

The problems and instabilities created by ethnic cleansing is only going to be compounded by this most recent paroxysm of inter ethnic hatred and brutality.

So the first world is going to pull up the drawbridge, because they like having all the good stuff and not sharing it, and the third world which is in the middle of interethnic conflict and fighting civil wars are all going to try and jump in and swim to the first world to try and find a better life for their kids. But they’re going to find the drawbridge is pulled up, so they’re going to sit around and rot, in places like Haiti, or Gaza, which have become wards of the international community and are just festering regions of despair.

Obviously the best case scenario is that the UN and the international community sat down and realised that we’ve gotta deal with this, we’ve got to be partners in this, and help each other out. They’d establish protocol and laws and ways of dealing with this, and greater foreign aid to help countries in distress so people don’t have to flee. That’s the ideal. But it looks like we’re going in the opposite direction.

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