I don't know what it is with hack "analysts" incapable of going beyond the obsolete models of Arab nationalism. Is what drives them ignorance, an impulse for omissions, or flat out historical perversions?
Take for instance this gem of unscrupulous dilettante journalism:
... this "frontier" of fire matches almost precisely the "State of the Alawites" temporarily created by the post-First World War French mandate which chopped Syria up into mini-nations partly on sectarian lines.Huh? Is Fisk at all capable of sticking to ideologically-innocent history? Would he care to admit that the 1920 "State of the Alawites" instated by the French was not intended to be "temporary," nor was it the result of a "chopped up Syria." There was no "Syria" precedent (to this "temporary" entity) to merit "chopp[ing] up." In 1918 the French inherited a bevy of semi-autonomous (ethnically coherent) Ottoman administrative units which they attempted to keep intact until 1936. Those were the "Pays Alaouite," "Pays Druze," "Etat d'Alep," and "Etat de Damas"; and they actually made more sense than the current Syrian entity. In fact, prior to 1936 there was no united or unified "Syria," nor was there a coherent cohesive Syrian nation to be racked by French colonial rapacity and end up being "chopped up into mini-nations." The current, rending, "modern Syria" is a historical anomaly that is simply reverting back to its natural dissected past. It never needed the French to "chop it up." If anything, the French proceeded with a profound understanding of (and respect for) the multi-ethnic nature of the Levantine mosaic, and attempted to remain faithful to the coherence, soundness, and practicality of the Ottoman administrative precedent.
Today's problems in the Levant (Syria's problems included) are the result of forced and coerced unities, as mandated by the early 20th century British, who, post-1936 had become the effective rulers of French-controlled Grand-Liban, Pays Alaouite, Pays Druze, Etat d'Alep, and Etat de Damas, and which they attempted (against the natural order of things) to bring together in an unholy cantankerous union. It is high time things went back to the past, and Levantine history got justice.