Article: The GOP Candidates Know Nothing about Syria | OpEdNews: And what of Assad? He's a ruthless dictator, to be sure. And the civil war he helped set in motion has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 of his own countrymen -- and forced nearly 12 million more to flee their homes as refugees or internally displaced people within Syria.
But he's also the only one protecting religious minorities like Alawites, Druze, and Christians in Syria -- the latter of whom make up about 10 percent of the population, including notable minorities in both the Syrian parliament and cabinet. Unlike many people elsewhere in the region, Syrians of all traditions were generally free to practice their faith before the war began.
This also used to be the case in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, despite his own ruthlessness. By now most Iraqi Christians have fled the country. Church leaders have been kidnapped and murdered. And you're more likely to meet an Iraqi Christian in Detroit than in Baghdad.
And those "moderate" rebels? Maybe a few are freedom-loving secularists. But many more are hardcore Islamists like the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. They aren't any more interested in democracy than Assad or the Islamic State itself.
There is, however, a solution. And it doesn't involve killing more people, stumbling into other countries' civil wars, or "carpet bombing" the Middle East, as Ted Cruz proposed. It's called diplomacy.
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