Six week’s ago Kurt J. Werthmuller Ph.D., a Middle East historian and analyst in the Washington, D.C. area, of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom wrote about the looming reality facing Syria’s 2,000,000 Christians; Caught in the Middle of Worsening Chaos.
“Several months ago, I expressed several important concerns related to Syria's sizeable Christian minority (10% of the county’s population), particularly regarding its uniquely vulnerable position between the brutal tactics of a failing, unscrupulous regime and a fractured, un-predictable myriad of opposition forces. At least some of those concerns are now moving from speculation into reality. Members of Syria's diverse Christian communities are finding themselves engulfed in the fog of war and increasingly targeted, both as pawns of the regime and armed rebels as well as by the rising (if still limited) presence of al Qaeda-linked and other foreign militants in the conflict.
…. We have known from the beginning of this uprising that al-Qaeda and its ilk would do their best to engage in this conflict, and recent reporting from the front lines has demonstrated that their presence is steadily growing and are thought to now number at least 200 individuals. They will not extend mercy to any communities in Syria that continue to assume a neutral stance toward the uprising.
External intervention appears to remain a theoretical debate for now, even as time grows short for Syria while the body count rises (now past 18,000) and a severe refugee crisis expands. Perhaps, then, the only way this worst-case outcome may be prevented is for the United States, European Union, Turkey, and allies in the region to push anyone who will listen within the Syrian opposition, as well as the Gulf governments who materially support the Free Syrian Army, that foreign jihadi fighters must not be tolerated among their ranks- even if it means a loss of their rifles and "experience."
‘The rising (if still limited) presence of al Qaeda-linked and other foreign militants in the conflict’ speculation ended on September 11, and should have been foreseen and a tragedy abated. The USA Ambassador, Chris Stevens, 52, was killed. Precisely what happened is still unclear. But we do know that Obama’s intelligence agencies dropped the ball. Should the date and the events already raging out of control not have been a red flag? The outbursts of anger and resentment caused many to ask, “Was the Arab Spring worth it?” Or did the Arab Spring lead us to a Dark Autumn?
Is there an equation to be made that pits a few hundred, and occasionally a few thousand men who vent for a few hours here and there to be allowed to express their legitimate anger at having their prophet and religion deliberately demeaned.
The Arab Spring arrived and spread basically without interrupting a seemingly peaceful transition. For almost 22 months we have seen tens of millions of ordinary citizens go out into the streets to demonstrate peacefully for the most part, as they worked to remove their dictators and live a more dignified and free life.
Yes, there have been a few illegitimate, unacceptable and reprehensible acts of violence. The attacks against the American consulate in Benghazi were such despicable acts. But to include a pre-planned attack by a small band of Salafist jihadist’s militants, the followers of Al Qaeda, in the same breath as a thousand men who vent peacefully begs disbelief.
End part One