Irish language

How slogans on a Syrian wall could lead us to World War 3

An Islamic State fighter firing his weapon during a battle against Syrian government troops in the village of Mahin, in Syria.
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer's Guide to Irish.

People who know very little about Irish think it is a simple backward language which is great for cutting turf and or building haystacks but which doesn't cut the mustard with anything to do with the modern world.

So the Bluffer has decided to try and explain one of the most pressing ceisteanna - issues facing the world today, an tSiria - Syria.

This is one of the most complicated wars ever with whole countries, regional factions, ethnic groups, militias who want to set up a Cailifeacht Mhoslamach - a Muslim Califate and God knows what else involved in furthering their goals.

So how did it start? Like our wee country, there is no agreed answer as to the cause but most agree the seeds of the war in Syria were sown during Earrach na nArabach - the Arab Spring which began in 2011.

Popular uprisings occurred in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In Syria, it started when some young people wrote anti-government graffiti on a wall. Gabhadh iad - they were arrested, eagraíodh léirsithe - demonstrations were organised a cuireadh faoi chois - which were repressed by the Assad regime.

From now on, this country of about 22 million, half of whom have been uprooted by the war, was to be a pawn in a geopolitical war.

Tá tacaíocht ag Assad - Assad has support from Russia, Iran (Siach - Shia), Iraq (mostly Shia) and Hezbollah (Shia).

On the other hand, you have a hotchpotch of rebels - Arm Saoirse na Siria - the Free Syrian Army as well as Fronta Al-Nasrah, an Stát Ioslamach - the Islamic State, and an Fronta Ioslamach - the Islamic Front.

The opposition has support from the USA and its allies as well as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

These are only some of the elements that are at play in the horrific story unfolding in Syria as we lie easy in our beds at night. The fear of course is that the conflict will spread onto becoming a Third World War.

There is a power struggle going on between the US and its allies and Russia and China on the other.

The US Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, has said that Russia is provoking the United States,

“We're investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia's provocations, such as new unmanned systems, a new long-range bomber, and innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers and new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones I really can't describe here,” he is quoted in the Guardian.

In the meantime, families are fleeing Syria to escape the war within its boundaries while outide, the superpowers are jostling for position.

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