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What if Syria fractures into multiple states?

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  • #46
    Syria Comment
    Five Reasons Why There Will Not Be an Alawite State
    Saturday, July 21st, 2012

    Will the Alawites try to establish an Alawite State centered in the Coastal Mountains?

    Many opposition figures and journalists insist that the Alawites are planning to fall back to the Alawite Mountains in an attempt to establish a separate state. This is unconvincing. Here are the top five reasons why there will not be an Alawite State.

    1. The Alawites have tried to get out of the mountains and into the cities. After the French conquered Syria in 1920, the earliest censuses showed a profound demographic segregation between Sunnis and Alawis. In no town of over 200 people did Alawis and Sunnis live together. The coastal cities of Latakia, Jeble, Tartus and Banyas were Sunni cities with Christian neighborhoods, but no Alawi neighborhoods. Only in Antioch did Alawis live in the city and that city was the capital of a separate autonomous region of Iskandarun, which was ceded to the Turks in 1938. In 1945 only 400 Alawis were registered as inhabitants of Damascus. Ever since the end of the Ottoman era, the Alawis have been streaming out of the mountain region along the coast to live in the cities. The French establishment of an autonomous Alawite state on the coast and their over-recruitment of Alawis into the military sped up this process of urbanization and confessional mixing in the cities of Syria. Assad’s Syria further accelerated the urbanization of the Alawites as they were admitted into universities in large numbers and found jobs in all the ministries and national institutions for the first time.

    2. The Assads planned to solve the sectarian problem in Syria by integrating the Alawites into Syria as “Muslims.” They promoted a secular state and tried to suppress any traditions that smacked of a separate “Alawite” identity. No formal Alawi institutions have been established to define Alawi culture, religion or particularism. They did not plan for an Alawi state. On the contrary, the Assads bent over backwards to define Alawis as main-stream Muslims, Bashar married a Sunni Muslim in an attempt at nation-building and to stand as an example of integration. He claimed to promote a “secular” vision of Syria.

    3. Assad has done nothing to lay the groundwork for an Alawite state. There is no national infrastructure in the coastal region to sustain a state: no international airport, no electric power plans, no industry of importance, and nothing on which to build a national economy.

    4. No country would recognize the Alawite state.

    5. Most importantly, an Alawite state is indefensible. Alawite shabbiha and brigades of special forces may fall back to the Alawite Mountains when Damascus is lost. But how long could they last? As soon as Syria’s Sunni militias unite, as presumably they will, they would make hasty work of any remaining Alawite resistance. Who ever owns Damascus and the central state will own the rest of Syria in short order. They will have the money, they will have legitimacy, and they will have international support. Syria could not survive without the coast. More importantly, it would not accept to do without the coast and the port cities of Tartus and Latakia. All the coastal cities remain majority Sunni to this day.
    I think he is wrong but he has a very good map on there.
    Assads are married into the coastal sunni families, technically the mountains could be used a seperation. Kurds are already de facto seperate according to stories below that one.

    Coast has infrastructure its called ports and roads. It would defacto detonate Syria economically and make it landlocked. Christians in compact living within the Alawite areas would probably believe in less attacks from Alawites after seperation than in an islamic Syria.
    Originally from Sochi, Russia.


    • #47
      Homs and Banyas have refineries about 220k together split about evenly. If they have to give up Homs they can blow it up and cut off gasoline production within Syria everywhere except the coast and border regions like Aleppo.

      Strategically electricity is mostly in the north due to dams so that infrastructure would be gone. There is an international airport in Latakia I think so Landis is wrong about infrastructure lacking on the coast.

      Overview of Infrastructure in Syria - Oil4All

      Tourism, oil terminal transit, refining, port processing of containers, is doable if Alawites seperate.

      The most important thing is of course water management and ability to have enough watersheds in the new country for survival and growth. My guess is they would have to push borders either close to Homs and Hama or actually take both cities into the new state due to strategic infrastructure there. (Refinery and river control of the Orontes). Flow of Alawites to the coastal regions increased if you look at Landis's blog.
      Originally from Sochi, Russia.