Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bashar al-Assad-The Feminist Dictator?

The Middle East, apart from Israel, is generally essentially a black hole for women's rights. The situation is worst in Saudi Arabia, but in most other countries as well they face real systematic oppression, as opposed to the non-oppression that Western feminists complain about, such as underrepresentation in corporate board of directors.

However, another partial exception seems to be Syria, or more specifically the Alawite and Christian parts of the country. Alawites, the ruling group in Syria,  are sometimes described as following an offshoot of Shia Islam, and that is partly true (That is the reason why the Syrian regime is allied with the Shi'ite theocracy in Iran and Lebanese Shi'ite terror group Hezbollah), but they differ from normal Muslims in several aspects, most notably that alcohol is permitted and women have a stronger position and don't wear headscarfs.  The latter is illustrated by this picture of Syria's Alawite dictator Bashar al-Assad and his attractive Western-looking wife.

You're unlikely to find any picture like this of any wife of regular Muslim (whether Sunni or Shia) leaders.

I also found here a link telling how Assad's regime, pressured by the Sunni Islamist insurgency funded mainly by Sunni Gulf dictatorships Saudi Arabia and Qatar (and to a lesser extent also supported by France, Britain and the U.S.) against his regime have started to enlist female soldiers to fight. Until recently, Israel was the only Middle Eastern country to have female soldiers (unless you count Quadaffi's personal bodyguards), but now the Assad regime is starting to mobilize Alawite and Christian women.

Here is a video clip telling of this.

Presumably, most of my readers don't understand Arabic any better than I do, but according to the Washington Post, they chant "Be prepared Syria. Stand up Assad,” and “With our blood and our soul we protect you Bashar.”

Considering the large scale defections of Sunni soldiers from the Syrian military, the Assad regime clearly thinks it is necessary to mobilize as many Alawites and Christians as possible, including female Alawites and Christians. The risk with such a force is however that it might further increase support for the rebels among Syria's majority Sunni population, especially considering reports that some of these female Alawite and Christian soldiers harass Sunni women and rip off their headscarfs.