This documentary gives good background info on the conflict. It looks like there has been a long history of repression and violence with roots in sectarianism and economic injustice. On the one hand the Assad regime has been brutal in its suppression of opposition and on the other it has provided a framework of stability for a culturally divided people. While Assad has been heavy handed and his violence has been counter productive the US/UK calls for regime changing intervention are also heavy handed and would be counter productive here as they have been in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. What the documentary fails to mention is that the majority of Syrians, not just Alawites, prefer Assad on at least a ‘devil you know’ basis.

This is a BBC documentary but nothing here justifies, on humanitarian grounds, the rabid insistence of Cameron, Hague, Obama, et al, that Assad must go. There is however an explanation in that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and the US/UK share economic interests and political ideologies that put them at odds with the more secular and socialist governments in Syria, Gaddhfi’s Libya and Lebanon and with whatever Iran is. These powers are prepared to work with the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni extremists who have no love for them but hate what they see as the Sunni and Alawite ‘heretics’ with greater passion.

These days I’m finding that hour long documentaries test my attention span but we really should give time to understanding what motivates our government to violent interventions and the probable consequences of these interventions.