The sad fact is that the ruthless Assad dictatorship has a better record than the United States or its Sunni allies of protecting religious minorities in the Middle East. What Syrian Christian, Alawite or Druze in their right mind would trade the Assad's time-tested protection for the smooth words of a John Kerry, especially when they can see Sunni supremacist Saudis, Qataris, Turks and a motley array of jihadis over their shoulder?A sad fact indeed.
Still, one of the most nagging questions for Western observers must be: Why would ruthless dictators, most of whom are at least nominally Muslim, care about Christians and bother to protect them?
The answer is related to the popular adage (possibly of Arab origin), "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This has long meant that, whoever is at odds with my enemy becomes my natural friend and ally.
In the context of Arab dictators and Christian minorities, however, the adage changes slightly to, "The enemy of ‘infidels' is my enemy."
Put differently, a secular Bashar Assad-ruthless as he may be-knows that those Islamic rebels that attack Christians because the latter are "infidels" also see him as an infidel and are thus his natural enemies.
And so, if anything, finding and neutralizing those "elements" that persecute Christians is one with finding and neutralizing those elements that would overthrow him.
It was the same in Saddam's Iraq, Mubarak's Egypt, Qaddafi's Libya, and the rest.
The point is not that these dictators had any special love for their Christian subjects, but rather that they knew they had little to worry about from them, while those who attack Christians are the ones to worry about.
This is evinced by the fact that, in other contexts, such Arab rulers cast the Christians to the lions as scapegoats for Islamists to vent their rage on-a "better them than me mentality."
Still, an overarching deduction exists: those who scream "infidels" while burning churches are the same who scream "apostate" while attacking state targets. It's an unwavering truism.