Syrian Christians Fear Regime Change

Reporting from Damascus, Syria, Alexandra Zavis of the Las Angeles Times, reports how some of the Syrian Christians are worried that if Bashar Assad’s regime does ever fall, then the proceeding civil war will result in revenge attacks against them.  These worries are coming from the knowledge of the sectarian attacks that have been reported coming out of Iraq and Egypt.

The uprising could end the security provided by President Bashar Assad’s autocratic but secular government.

This has to be a difficult situation for this minority groups inside Syria.  Like with most dictators, there is a level of stability involved with the regime. The power they project across all groups in the country they reside in sometimes does cause a level of security that is shattered when the regime is taken down. This happened in Iraq, where the U.S. security forces were caught in the middle.  Civil war usually follows when the dictator falls.

Repeated attempts to stop the violence have not been successful, and the time is likely coming near for outside military intervention.  The United Nations estimates that 7,500 people have been killed since the violence started.

Just last week it was reported that 62 people were killed in Syria and this happen just before a United Nations envoy arrived.  Mr. Annan, who is the former United Nations secretary general, was sent to Damascus by the United Nations and the Arab League to try to negotiate a cease-fire. Mr. Assad told him there would be no negotiations until the other side laid down their arms. Which is somewhat odd being that is the Syria regime that has been brutalizing them.  I see no reason for the rebels to lay down arms.

There have been increased calls for action in the United States from John McCain, who is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  McCain contends that the U.S. should lead a military air assault on Syrian Ground forces, stating that President Obama’s attempts at peace through diplomacy have started to look more like hope than a real strategy to stop the killing.

If the world does take action, they are going to have to assure that the Christian Minority in the country remains safe.  This is something that has not been the focus in other situations like this in the Middle East.

Zavis reports that the Christians in Syria still back Assad because of fear revenge attacks against minorities will be the result for them. 

George, who is a 37-year-old dentist that refuses to use his last name, contends, “If the regime goes, you can forget about Christians in Syria,”  “Look what happened to the Christians of Iraq.  They had to flee everywhere, while most of the churches were attacked and bombed.”

Interesting enough, there are many senior members of the government and security force that are Christians, members rank all the way up to the defense minister.  The view is not shared across all Christians in Syria though. Some dissenting voices have spoken to reporters.  The Priest asked to keep his name out of the article, for fear of reprisal.

The priest said, “In my opinion, Assad did not protect minorities, he protected himself,” and “It’s a regime of family, friends and corruption.  And corruption does not have a religion.”

The dilemma the Christians face in the country is one of life and death for some of them, while others may just be driven from the country.  For the rest of the world, it makes no sense to come in and stop one set of killing, while allowing another.  Would the international community insure the safety of the Syrian Christians?

Christians in Syria trace their foundations to the beginnings of the faith when the apostle Paul converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus before he helped spread the faith across the Roman Empire.  It would be sad if they were driven off by the very people this Christian nation is trying to help. 

On the other hand, should we even get involved if there is, a chance that what is replaced in worse than what was there to begin with?  Would the president even be willing to protect Christians in another country?  Maybe if they agreed to pay for contraception for female employees.  

I suggest we make a deal to arm the rebels and proceed with air strikes, but only under insurance that the Christians would be protected once, the Assad government was taken out and the criminals caught.  We do this with the insurance that if they fail to meet their end of the deal, they will meet a similar fate as Assad, and back that up if indeed the new government does not protect the Christian minority.