DAOUD RAJIHA, the assassinated minister of defence, was one of several Christians drawn into the higher ranks of officialdom by the Assad clan that also belongs to a religious minority, the Alawites, an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam. Keen to portray the uprising as a sectarian insurrection by extreme elements of the Sunni Muslim majority posing a vicious threat to minorities, Mr Assad has often wheeled out bishops and nuns to express devotion to his regime and to condemn supposed foreign interference. Yet they do not carry their flocks with them. [Link]