Why Peace Between Syria and Israel Is An Imperative By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
Protests spread across Syria on Friday, challenging the 40-year rule of the Assad family after their forces killed dozens of demonstrators in the south. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, all have one thing in common - they are plagued by riots by wide segments of the general population.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria was founded circa the 1930s or mid 1940s. Initially, the organization was part of the legal opposition. The organization won 10 seats in the 1961 parliamentary elections It was banned after the 1963 coup brought the secularist, pan-Arabist Baath Party to power . The Brotherhood played a major role in the mainly Sunni-based resistance movement that opposed the Baath Party. A conflict developed into an armed struggle in the late 1970s that climaxed in the Hama uprising of 1982, in which the military killed or maimed thousands.
To date , the Brotherhood has ceased to be an active political force inside Syria. The entity retains a network of support in the country with external headquarters in London and Cyprus. In recent years, it has renounced violence and adopted a reform platform which calls for the establishment of a democratic and representative political superstructure . The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni. He lives as a political refugee in London. Membership in the Syrian Brotherhood was outlawed in the 1980s .
“The barrier of fear is broken. This is a first step on the road to toppling the regime,” said Ibrahim, a middle-aged lawyer in Daraa who compared events to the uprisings in Egypt and other Arab states. “We have reached the point of no return.” 1)
Al-Asad took swift action to begin to deal with the growing protests. As a first step, he fired the Syrian cabinet and precipitated considerable pro-government demonstrations in Damascus. Dr. Butaynah Sha'ban, Al-Asad's spokeswoman indicated that the Syrian president had ordered steps to bring to justice officials responsible for killing innocent protesters. She stated that the government would raise wages which hovered at the poverty level . Reforms of the health care system were promised, as well as electoral reforms and a freer atmosphere for the media.
To accomplish these things, Syria needs to turn inward and cease and desist from being an intermediary between Iran and other Islamic extremists in the continuing hostilities toward Israel and the West . Syria needs to accept Israel unequivocally as an adjoining neighbor and ultimate trading partner in order to do the things that Al-Asad claims are in the works. In the future, a more open Syrian political system might result in someone like Dr. Butaynah Sha'ban actually becoming the Syrian President at some point.
Western technologies like cloud computing, digital technologies, energy technologies, advanced organizational designs, municipal accounting systems and telecommunications could deliver electronic infrastructure needed to uplift the people of Syria to a more respectable economic position in the Middle East and the world itself.
Some positive economic prospects are on the horizon for Syria . i.e. Bilateral trade between Syria and France has risen by $1 billion dollars. In addition, a Russian power utility is set to create a $1 billion dollar power utility in a Russian/Syrian joint venture. The foundation has been laid for a $3 billion dollar Tigris River Project. 2)
About half of the Syrian population is urban. The Sunni Muslims are the majority. The short coastline of Syria abuts the Mediterranean . The proximity to the Mediterranean suggests the possibility of combining a desalination plant with the "Artificial Sun" or solar energy to produce fresh water.
There are fertile lowlands and plains to the south with mountains and large desert areas. Industry consists of oil products, textiles, food processing, tobacco and phosphate mining. Just under a third of the land is arable. The chief minerals are oil, phosphates, gypsum and iron. Wool and dairy are other developed industries.
Syria and its neighbors; such as, Turkey need to be concerned about the vagaries of nature and earthquakes in particular. Earthquakes are a concern quite apart from all of the social issues discussed above.
Antioch was located in what was called Syria, around the time of the 526 AD earthquake. The ancient locale was home to the following historical sites: o Imperial Palace o Hippodrome o Walls of Tiberius and Justinian o Cherubim Gate o The Jewish Community o Amphitheater o Daphne Gate o Nymphacum o The Citdel o Colonnaded Street
The area from Latakia, Syria to Antakya, Turkey ( formerly Antioch) is a mere 50 miles. 3)
Antioch, like several other locations in the eastern Mediterranean, had a history of repeated damage from earthquakes. It was probably damaged to a greater extent than most of its neighbors because of the multiple actions of four tectonic plates. The Anatolian Tectonic Plate beneath Antioch was moving north-westward under pressure from the Arabian Plate. These two were then influenced by the African Tectonic Plate as it subducted under the Eurasian Plate. In May of 526, in the early evening while people were in their homes, the worst of many earthquakes hit the city, demolishing it completely. Every building was destroyed. There were many aftershocks that added to the terror of the event, but the greatest devastation came the next day when a fire engulfed the entire city. A quarter of a million people perished in the course of all that took place. 4)
The Karliova triple junction is an area of unprecedented seismic activity where the Anatolian, Eurasian and Arabian tectonic plates meet. Many of the small rural villages in this area have experienced large earthquakes in recent history. The landscape is open and dramatic, the long, sweeping mountains a testament to the regions' seismic past. 5)
The 1138 Aleppo earthquake was located near the town of Aleppo in northern Syria on 11 October 1138. The United States Geological Survey lists it as the third deadliest earthquake in history. The figure of 230,000 dead is based on a historical conflation of this earthquake with earthquakes in November 1137 on the Jazira plain and the large seismic event of 30 September 1139 in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja. The first mention of a 230,000 death toll was by Ibn Taghribirdi in the fifteenth century.
Aleppo is located along the northern part of the Dead Sea Transform system of geologic faults, which is a plate boundary separating the Arabian plate from the African plate. The earthquake was the beginning of the first of two intense sequences of earthquakes in the region: October 1138 to June 1139 and a much more intense and a later series from September 1156 to May 1159. The first sequence affected areas around Aleppo and the western part of the region of Edessa (modern Şanliurfa, Turkey). During the second, an area encompassing north-western Syria, northern Lebanon and the region of Antioch (modern Antakya, in southern Turkey) was subject to more earthquakes. 6) 7)