It should seem obvious to everyone (except apparently himself) that Bashir Assad’s term as Syria’s President is drawing towards an end. Alas that end cannot come soon enough. Transiting Pluto conjunct Syria’s Sun until August 8 suggests a protracted struggle and that aspect will start up again October 26. (Syria’s chart is based on its independence at midnight January 1, 1944 in Damascus.)
That conjunction is in Syria’s third house so the neighbors are sure to get drawn in much deeper than they already are. Actually Syria starts off from the difficult position of being diplomatically isolated. Despite the American popular imagination the US government enjoys good diplomatic and trade relations will all Arab countries except Syria. You may notice that alongside the well-earned condemnations of Syrian brutality there is little official comment on repression in Yemen, Bahrain, or Saudi Arabia. We often hear about Syrian meddling in Lebanon, but not about how Saudi influence is their main competition. Taking orders from Damascus is bad enough, but from Riyadh? No thanks! The fact that Iran is Syria’s best friend is not endearing to other Arab governments either.
So we already see Turkey being drawn into the mess, and with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Iraqi refugees in Syria, Baghdad will have trouble staying uninvolved. You should think they have enough to handle at home, but nothing unites a country like an external enemy real or imagined. Lebanon is not a very active player, but so affected by Syrian politics some blowback from Beirut to Damascus is likely. Israel, of course, is watching warily. While any overt actions are sure to backfire they are undoubtedly working behind scenes to manipulate what they can. Jupiter is retrograde in Syria’s seventh house so what allies they do have are likely to backpedal away from them leaving them even more vulnerable to outside pressures.
The current spate of violence should get especially intense at New Years as transiting Sun conjoins its natal position (Happy Birthday?) and transiting Pluto.
In the long run Eris sextile their natal Saturn will continue to make Syria very hard to govern no matter who’s in charge. Once they’re rid of Assad different factions and communities will struggle for power. Around January 8th and again on February 8th Mars will join in with those two to create more trouble for the regime. Expect even more than usual malice from secret police against dissidents and/or huge defections perhaps from not-so-loyalists appalled at the brutality.
In the birth chart Neptune, Eris, Mars, and Uranus – an extremely volatile quartet – are all in close aspect so transiting planets will aspect all four in quick succession. Mid-February Jupiter will set these off. Sensing an advantage due to diplomatic isolation labor unions and Sunni factions (resenting Alawite rule) will rise up in what could become an extremely bloody – and probably disastrous – battle so horrifying it will hasten the end. Late March through April with Mars retrograde, then turning direct while aspecting this quartet as will be Uranus. This is when I expect Assad to fall, and then Syria’s problems really begin.
Like Iraq and the other countries defined by the Treaty of San Remo in 1920 the borders of the region were drawn by French and British colonialists with lots of experience in divide-and-conquer. They wanted to keep diverse, competing peoples in the ill-fitting structure of nation-states which might have worked better if they’d been shaped to be more homogenous. Admittedly that’s a big challenge in that region. So basically you have a set up very like Iraq where competing populations, long aggravated by inequitable dictatorship are now free to air long-nurtured grievances. And in the Syrian chart Pluto in the 10th adds harmony to that quartet suggesting that a strongman is needed to pull everyone together. That volatile quartet – Neptune in Libra in the 12th house, Eris in Aries in the 6th, Mars and Uranus in Gemini in the 8th – incites the different factions, especially the religious groups against each other. Mars and Uranus are in harmony (trine and sextile) to Eris and Neptune (in opposition) so they could conceivably come up with a brilliantly innovative power-sharing arrangement. Such structures never come easily or quickly and Mars and Uranus want fast results. Those planets transiting in aspect to the four increase their own natural rash impatience. On the other hand Jupiter will make favorable aspects at the end of June/early July so that’s when we might see – under outside pressures – positive steps towards a sustainable democracy. Still they will always need strong leadership and will tend towards authoritarian rule.
So if you want to visit Syria wait until after July and give it a couple of months to cool down, meteorologically and otherwise. Then in late October it gets a bit dicey with Uranus coming back to that quartet, but if cooler heads prevail that could even be when the genius comes out for that creative power-sharing arrangement. InshaAllah!