Syria and the “Shia Crescent”

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February 20th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

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– Analysis by Samer Hussein –

One of the most bizarre theories that I frequently spotted in the mainstream media outlets over the past few years is the so-called “Shia Crescent” theory.

According to the sources, peddling this kind of misinformation of a rather manipulative nature, in the Middle East there was allegedly established a religio-political block, consisting of an alliance formed by Syria, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. Because this so-called “Shia Crescent” supposedly represents a grave danger for the remaining powers in the region, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states and Turkey were forced to create an alliance that would counter the influence of the so-called “Shia Crescent”. But now we have to ask ourselves: is any of this actually true? Let’s take a look at Syria as the best example.

It is definitely not a secret that Syria is having very close ties with Iran, an Islamic Republic and a Shia-majority country. But is Shiism really the key factor that binds the two? Syria is a secular Arab republic whereas Iran is an Islamic republic. It may be true that the Iranian leadership is of Shia and Bashar Al Assad, Syria’s president, of Alawite background (The Alawites are an offshoot Shia group, though not exactly Shias in the same context as Shias), however, at the same time, it is also true that the leadership of Syria is predominantly Sunni. 

This is nothing surprising since more than two thirds of all Syrian citizens are Sunnis. The fact that Bashar al Assad is an Alawite is a pure coincidence. Bashar Al Assad does not rule as an Alawite or Shia. He rules as a president of the Syrian Arab Republic and in accordance with the basic principles of the Syrian Constitution, which was adopted by the People’s council of the Syrian Arab Republic. 

None of his laws or decrees are signed in the name of Alawism (and thus Shiism) or for the benefit of Alawite community as such. These undeniable facts naturally contradict the mainstream media narrative on Syria, according to which, Syria is under (complete control) of the Alawite community that is said to be pulling all of the strings in the country. 

Not only the outlets that peddle this type of narrative are spreading “fake news” and misinformation, in most cases they are also breaching their local laws which prohibit defamation of communities of people. 

It shall be made clear that neither domestic nor foreign policies of Syria include any sectarian elements. It’s all just about politics (and economy). And for nothing else than these reasons, Syria is an ally of Iran and Hezbollah. Syria cannot align itself with Turkey-Saudi Arabia-Gulf axis since, in terms of politics, stands on the opposite bank of the river. 

Syria is and independent state with its own defined policies, not a puppet of Washington and does not supports its agenda (as is the case with Turkey/Gulf States/Saudi Arabia). While indeed a lot of Shias worldwide have a sympathy for Syria only because Bashar Al Assad is an Alawite and thus consider him as Shia, this hardly has anything to do with the exact geopolitical reality. 

An alliance with Iran is understandable, if not already unavoidable, given that both countries are not only firmly resisting the Atlanticist and Globalist influence (and are thus not only sharing the same political essence), but are being sanctioned by these same powers. 

As such the two countries need to cooperate not only on a political, but on an economic level as well as it is beneficial for both. Syria is being isolated and so is being Iran. 

Nevertheless, the Syrian ties with Russia are even stronger than those with Iran. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of weapons to Syria, hence the close ties between the two shall not come as a surprise. Indeed, the conspirators behind the Crescent theory mysteriously “forgot” that the Syrian ties with Russia are actually stronger than those with Iran. 

The latter, despite being a self-declared Islamic Republic with strong Shia majority, is not pushing any sectarian agenda in daily political life. This was best evident during the war in Armenian Karabagh. The Iranian leadership declared its support for  the Armenian and not the Azeri side, despite Azerbaijan being a Shia-majority country. The defining factor here was the fact that Azerbaijan aligned itself with US, NATO, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the political powers otherwise known for their hostility towards Iran. Again, we can see it was politics that prevailed in the end. 

Something similar we could also say for the relatively new Saudi-Turkish alliance. What exactly do the Turkish secular republic that mostly makes its revenue off tourism and an Arab Wahhabist state that mostly makes its revenue off oil, despite both allegedly having a Sunni majority, have in common? 

What is there that would legitimize the urgent need for maintaining an alliance? Apart from politics, nothing really. The two simply want to want to counter the influence of Syria and Iran who are resisting their ambitions. Countering the Syrian-Iranian influence would not only be beneficial for their own ambitions, but for those of their masters in Washington as well.

While looking at things the way they are we quickly realize that the driving wheel behind this particular geopolitical cruise is still nothing else than politics. Even though some of the figures on this geopolitical chessboard might appear a bit sectarian-driven, in the end, it’s not sectarianism that orders the things around and decides their fate.

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