By ilana mercer
On just about every issue, in 2016, candidate Trump ran in opposition to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Donald Trump won the presidency; Lindsey Graham quit the race with a near-zero popularity, as reflected in the polls.
The People certainly loathe the senator from South Carolina. A poll conducted subsequently found that Graham was among least popular senators.
No wonder. Graham is reliably wrong about most things.
But being both misguided and despised have done nothing to diminish Sen. Graham’s popularity with Big Media, left and right. Thus were his pronouncements accorded the customary reverence, during a July 10 segment, on Fox News’ “The Story.”
Which is when he told anchor Martha MacCallum that, “Putin is not doing anything good in Syria.”
Then again, Lindsey is being consistent. The revival of “one of the world’s oldest Christian communities,” in Syria, is not something the senator we’ve come to know and loathe would celebrate.
It’s true. “A new Syria is emerging from the rubble of war,” reports The Economist, a magazine which is every bit as liberal and Russophobic as Graham and his political soul mate, John McCain, but whose correspondents on the ground—in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs—have a far greater fidelity to the truth than the terrible two.
“In Homs, … the Christian quarter is reviving. Churches have been lavishly restored; a large crucifix hangs over the main street.” ‘Groom of Heaven,’ proclaims a billboard featuring a photo of a Christian soldier killed in the seven-year conflict. And, in their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr. Assad for saving … the Christian communities.”
Don’t tell the ailing McCain. It’ll only make him miserable, but thanks to Putin, Assad “now controls Syria’s spine, from Aleppo in the north to Damascus in the south—what French colonists once called la Syrie utile (useful Syria). The rebels are confined to pockets along the southern and northern borders.”
“Homs, like all of the cities recaptured by the government, now belongs mostly to Syria’s victorious minorities: Christians, Shias and Alawites (an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam from which Mr. Assad hails). These groups banded together against the rebels, who are nearly all Sunni, and chased them out of the cities.” (“How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria,” The Economist, June 28, 2018.)
A Christian teacher in Homs rejoices, for she no longer must live alongside neighbors “who overnight called you a kafir (infidel).”
The teacher’s venom is directed at John McCain’s beloved “rebels.” Internet selfies abound of McCain mixing it up with leading Sunni “rebels,” against whom Putin and Bashar al-Assad were doing battle. Who knows? McCain may even have taken a pic with the infamous “rebel” who decapitated Syrian Franciscan monk Father Francois Murad.
Ignoramuses McCain and Graham had both urged the US to send weapons to the “rebels”—even as it transpired that the lovelies with whom McCain was cavorting on his sojourns in Syria liked to feast on … the lungs of their pro-Assad enemies. A devotee of multiculturalism, Lindsey could probably explain the idiosyncratic cultural symbolism of such savagery.
Infested as it is by globalist ideologues, the permanent establishment of American foreign policy refuses to consider regional, religious, local, even tribal, dynamics in the Middle East. In particular, that the “good” guys in Syria—a relative term—are not the Islamist “rebels,” with whom the senior Republican senator from Arizona was forever frolicking; but the secular Alawites.
You likely didn’t know that Alawites like al-Assad also “flinch at Shia evangelizing. ‘We don’t pray, don’t fast [during Ramadan] and drink alcohol,’ says one.”
Under Putin’s protection, the more civilized Alawite minority (read higher IQ), which has governed Syria since 1966, is in charge again. Duly, reports the anti-Assad Economist, “Government departments are functioning. … electricity and water supplies are more reliable than in much of the Middle East. Officials predict that next year’s natural-gas production will surpass pre-war levels. The railway from Damascus to Aleppo might resume operations this summer. The National Museum in Damascus, which locked up its prized antiquities for protection, is preparing to reopen to the public.”
Good thinking. The “rebels” would have blown Syria’s prized antiquities to smithereens.
Given that Islamists are not in charge, the specter of men leaving their women and fleeing Syria has had an upside. Syrian women dominate the workforce. Why, they’re even working as “plumbers, taxi-drivers and bartenders.” Had Sen. Graham, his friends the “rebels,” and their Sunni state sponsors won—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—would this be possible? Turkey is currently sheltering “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group linked to al-Qaeda, and other Sunni rebels.”
Aligned against the Christian-Shia-Alawite alliance are Israel and America, too. They’ve formed a protective perimeter around rebel holdouts.
Before the breakthrough, when Sunni rebels were gaining ground, Syria’s “women donned headscarves,” and “non-Muslim businessmen bowed to demands from Sunni employees for prayer rooms. But as the war swung their way, minorities regained their confidence.” “Christian women in Aleppo [now] show their cleavage, the internet is unrestricted and social-media apps allow for unfettered communication. Students in cafés openly criticize the regime.”
Contra the robotic sloganeering from Lindsey, Nikki Haley and the political establishment, Russia has been pushing Bashar al-Assad to open up Syria’s political process and allow for the revival of “multiparty politics.”
Alas, the once bitten Assad is twice shy. His attempts, a decade ago, to liberalize Syrian politics resulted in the ascendancy of Sunni fundamentalism, aka Lindsey Grahamnesty’s rebels. (The nickname is for the Republican senator’s laissez-faire immigration policies, stateside.)
As has Russia called “for foreign forces to leave Syria,” Iran’s included. Iran commands 80,000 Shia militiamen in Syria. “Skirmishes between the [Iranian] militias and Syrian troops have resulted in scores of deaths. Having defeated Sunni Islamists, army officers say they have no wish to succumb to Shia ones.”
It all boils down to national sovereignty. So as to survive the onslaught of the Sunni fundamentalist majority, the endangered Alawite minority formed an alliance with the Iranian Shia, also a minority among the Ummah. Now, civilized and secular Syrians want their country back. In fact, many Syrian “Sunnis prefer Mr. Assad’s secular rule to that of Islamist rebels.”
ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed“ (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube