1. David Cameron
Numero Uno on the list is David Cameron, conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Bet you thought it would be Bashar al-Assad, but nope! Last week, the UK’s Parliament failed to pass a resolution to conduct a military strike against Syria with their partner in Middle Eastern wars, the United States. After the President’s talk about “red lines” (not blurred ones) and “the international community,” Britain was the one nation besides France that had said they’d be willing to back the US against Assad but the British people spoke and the answer was “no.”
Cameron, already deeply unpopular for his austerity measures is now slipping further in approval polls.
2. Vladimir Putin
Putin, the perpetual President of Russia, has been a thorn in the side of two Presidents in a row now. Putin was a Soviet KGB officer and when President Bush met him in 2001, he said, “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Things went poorly after that but, amazingly, have gone even worse during Mr. Obama’s Presidency.
Senator John McCain summed up Mr. Putin best when he said, “I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.” Yup. The guy is a player among players and an absolute boss at it. He refuses to support Obama’s proposed military strikes in Syria for several reasons not the least of which is that the only Russian military port in the entire world outside Russia is in the Syrian port city of Tartus on the Black Sea. It’s pretty important to the Russians to still have that toe hold in the region and Russia has even moved a fleet into the Mediterranean…exactly where the US would be staging any attack on Syria. Yeah, it makes me uncomfortable as well. Apparently when Putin says, “I don’t think Syria used chemical weapons,” he really means it.
3. Grand Ayatollah Sayyid
Ali Khamenei, better known as Ayatollah Khamenei — you can be forgiven for thinking this guy has been alive for 100 years. His predecessor had almost the exact same name. While Iran has a President, the President only has as much power as the religious leaders in Iran grant to him or allow to him…notice I said him. There are no lady Presidents in Iran because it’s a theocracy and strict Islam doesn’t allow it.
Most analysts who aren’t lying, agree that President Obama’s desire to bomb Syria is more about his desire to isolate Iran, a traditional ally of Syria and a fellow Shi’ite Muslim run government. Some people say Iran’s trying to build a nuke, Iran says they’re not and Russia says they aren’t. Also, Russia’s been providing them nuclear materials used in medical equipment and helped them build a nuclear reactor. Right, see? Putin’s got his hands in a lot of pies here.
4. Hassan Nasrallah
Nasrallah is the third Secretary General of the Shi’ite Lebanese political/paramilitary organization known as Hezbollah…Israel killed his predecessor and his five-year-old son. Israel did this because Israel and Hezbollah are pretty much in either a hot or a cold war.
You see, Lebanon is made up of three main groups, Sunni Muslims, Shi’ite Muslims, and Christians and in 1975, they all had a war that lasted until 1990 when they finally formed a unity government. Hezbollah is an ally of both Syria and Iran and they’re all Shi’ite Muslims. You starting to see the trend here? Israel is our main ally in the Middle East outside Saudi Arabia (a Sunni Muslim kingdom, also a theocracy). Nasrallah supports both Iran and Syria and they give him money and weapons. In fact, Hezbollah fighters have been fighting in the Syria civil war on Assad’s side. The Sunnis and Christians in Lebanon have been basically doing nothing…a 15-year-long war was a long war the first time.
5. Bashar al-Assad
You knew he’d have to be on here somewhere you smart cookie you. Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria and head of the Ba’ath Party (yes, basically the same party that Saddam Hussein was the head of) has been engaged in a civil war with mostly Sunni Muslims since Spring of 2011. The Ba’ath Party is ostensibly Socialist and was created in 1947 in an attempt to unite the Arab world under one government. That didn’t happen.
There’s been over 100,000 people killed on both sides of the conflict since then. The opposition — or rebels if you prefer the Star Wars loaded term as in “rebel scum” — wants to overthrow Assad and establish Syria as some sort of democracy under majority Sunni Muslim rule, or establish a theocracy under majority Sunni Muslim rule.
The real key here is that their endgame always includes the key phrase “majority Sunni Muslim rule” because Sunnis are the majority in Syria. It’s for that reason that Assad, a Shi’ite Muslim, has established over the decades a broad coalition of support among Shi’ites, Christians, Druze, and Kurds, basically anyone who isn’t a Sunni Muslim Arab, anyone who’s a minority. Pretty much, all the minority groups are afraid that the Sunnis will kill them and take their stuff if Assad is overthrown. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened in Iraq under the same majority/minority flip flop circumstances. This would likely be bloodier.
Obama claims that Assad used chemical weapons on the opposition, namely civilians, and wants to fire some Tomahawk missiles and Assad’s chemical weapons depots or troops, whichever he’s able to find first. Whichever would most destabilize Assad’s rule is what’s most likely since the President has repeatedly stated “Assad must go” and since we’ve been providing the opposition with weapons in the fight. We’ve clearly picked our horse and Obama is backing it. Assad’s man in the middle here. He’s not Iran who might/might not be trying to make a nuke and he’s not Hezbollah which could take a fight to Israel any time it wanted. He’s an embattled go between, far easier pickings than the other two.
Oh yeah, and Putin backs him…and has a fleet in the Mediterranean.
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