Dexter Filkins’s essay in the latest New Yorker “After Syria” is so mind boggling that your head hurts after reading it.
It’s also a reminder that there’s no substitute for what many of us like to refer to as “ground truth” – great reporting by a journalist who takes considerable risks to get to the frontlines to help us understand what is really taking place. No Cable TV pundit or think tank analyst could state with such clarity what the stakes are now in Lebanon as Syria implodes.
If you thought Syria and what happens if and when Bashar Assad is killed or driven out of power was confusing and worrying, wait till you factor in what Filkins tells us in his brave reporting on Hezbollah.
Even to get Hezbollah commanders to speak to him was minor accomplishment although his central source insisted on a pseudonym- “Dani.” But through Dani we understand why Hezbollah remains a ferocious fighting force that is now equipped and armed by Iran in a more lethal way than ever in its readiness to fight Israel.
But the biggest bombshell in Filkins’s piece is what Dani tells him as he tries to explain why a Syria overrun by opposition forces backed by Western nations could result in even a more pressure on Israel. This is what is nearly impossible to get your head around. But Dani says this in discussing what Filkins describes as the prospect of a “ Sunni majority, even a fundamentalist regime coming to power.” Dani says:” You wait and see… you’re going to have Salafists in Syria attacking the Golan Heights. What are you going to do then?”
No wonder the Obama White House resists arming opposition groups in Syria. Could it be that it grasps that as bloodthirsty as Assad is, as catastrophic the plight of Syrian civilians (60,000 killed and half a million refugees expected by May), things could get even worse in a post-Assad Syria. But try and tell that to the families of those murdered inside Syria and driven from their homes and their country.
And pity poor Lebanon. None of this bodes well for it.
This abstract from New Yorker: http://nyr.kr/UEpzWJ