Wednesday, September 13, 2006

# Posted 8:17 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

FIRST-PERSON BLOGGING ABOUT SYRIA: Although Liz was busy covering the GOP primary in Rhode Island, she also found the time to comment on yesterday's attack on the US embassy in Syria. She writes:
Having Syrian friends, and having visited Syria and even met Syrian ministers, I for one, am not surprised by the Syrians' swift action to deal with the Embassy bombers.
Liz also reports that Syrians demonstrate far less interest in radical Islam than many of their neighbors. In Syria, burqas are far less common than elsewhere and even some midriffs are visible.

That's an important point, but I have concerns about the stability of such a situation if the regime begins to falter. Iraq was also known, thanks to its women's fashion choices, for being more secular than most of its neighbors.

But to a considerable extent, that was a facade held in place by the suppression of a devout Shi'ite majority. And once the Sunnis became insurgents, they embraced Islam and began cooperating, however fitfully, with Al Qaeda. The secularists may still be there in Iraq, but they no longer show themselves or their midriffs. Let's hope things turn out better in Syria.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

The Shah's Iran, also, had a reputation as a "Westernized" Islamic country, where the elites looked and acted far more Western than anybody does today. And when Westerners went there, of course they mostly met and talked with the elites. The reality for most of the population was always quite different. This is likely true of Syria today.
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