This article contains many factual leaps of logic. For one thing, Alawites are barely described as Shi’ite — their religious ideology is heterodox Shi’ism at best. And the article appears to start itself out with the odd proposition, never qualified and then presumably negated by its larger thesis, that somehow stuff would have been better if Basil had succeeded his dad instead of Bashar — as a conjecture this is somewhere between wildly speculative and laughably nonsensical. The author set a trap for himself, returning to this conjecture later, hoping to tie it all together:
“ How many hundreds of thousands of lives were lost because of that one car accident? Big brother Basil may not have been a better president, but it’s difficult to picture he would’ve been more monstrous than his little brother Bashar. But, who knows?”
Who knows, indeed — also, who knows the material point of fanciful speculations about which sibling progeny of a murderous dictator would have turned out less murderous?
However, the biggest leap of logic taken by the author is in fact also its real thesis: that the Arabs are somehow innocent victims of colonial powers X, Y, and Z and not the co-authors of their own misery. There never was and never will be a united Arab nation, regardless of Sykes-Picot, because Arabs never were and never will be a united people, but rather a patchwork of clans, religions and regional cultures, a good portion of which were not even Arab in the first place but rather were “Arabized” by the bloody invasions of foreign Arabs who subjugated and assimilated populations by force. One can tut-tut about all the bad stuff British and French and Turks and whomever did, but painting the Arabs as simple victims of colonialism is naive farce.