Today a new sign of coordination between Syrian and Iraqi security in this regard surfaced when the two sons of one of the most visible Syrian refugees and opposition members in Iraq, Muhammad Bakkur, were arrested in Hama in central Syria. Omar and Sufian had returned to Syria in 2003 following the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Syrian authorities had allowed at the time for a handful of refugees to return home as part of their campaign to polish the image of the regime. Their arrest today denotes the Assads’ growing confidence, defiance and possible coordination efforts with Iraqi counterparts. No wonder Talibani is calling on the US to engage them. The Assholes of the world have always had a pretty good sense as to when it behooves them to unite. This all too unfortunate tendency, it seems, has allowed the Assads to get back to their old habit of hunting opposition figures wherever they are allowed to reach. Failing that, revenge against more easily accessible family members is in vogue again. This should give much food for thought for people in my position, I guess.
On a related note, attacks on Palestinian refugees in Baghdad took place yesterday as well, which makes one has to wonder: first Syrians and now Palestinian refugees, is a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing unfolding in Baghdad? If so, where will it lead? What’s Maliki’s government role in all of this? And what potential backlash could there be among the wider Sunni community (considering that all these refugees are almost exclusively Sunni)? Indeed, the re-engineering of Baghdad into clearly demarcated Sunni/Shia cantons have been taken place for a while now, with some success. Could this trend be part of it?
Should the Sunnis in the region perceive themselves as the target of some organized ethnic cleansing in Iraq, and considering recent developments elsewhere in the region where Sunnis were on the losing end (Afghanistan, Somalia, Gaza, etc.), the implications of such perception for the Global War on Terror and regional stability are very serious indeed.