Just getting started, 9/8/2103
Big Picture in the Middle East:
The Ba’ath Party (closely related to Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party) took power in 1963, and the Assad family gained control of that in 1971. The Assads are Alawites and odd type of Shia sect which accounts for 12% of Syria’s population, and Assad’s popularity does not extend much further.
Syria has been Iran’s main ally in the region, and Russia is Syria’s most powerful ally. Since Saudi Arabia is predominantly Sunni as is the majority of the Syrian opposition,
Strangely, US anti-war protesters joined forces with pro-Assad Syrians to back Assad and condem Obama. Generally they denied that Assad had used never gas to kill 1,400. They also failed to notice that Assad had previously killed roughly 100,000, so that argued that he must not have used the gas because he would not have killed his own people. Neither did they notice that Assad had started the war.