Syrian President Bashar Assad 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout)
Last Friday, the high-security Damascus district of Kfar Sousa was the target of
two suicide car-bombings that resulted in over 40 deaths.
The carnage was
reminiscent of places such as Iraq, a far cry from the “stability” touted by
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Kfar Sousa was also the district where Imad
Mughniyeh was hunted and killed in February of 2008.
The twin suicide
attacks may very well have been the work of Sunni extremists, but given Syrian
and Iranian expertise with car bombs and Assad’s urgent need to launch a
decisive attack against cities like Homs, the possibility of an attack aimed at
savagely ending the rebellion should not be discounted.
fighting is reminiscent of carnage in the city of Hama, which was bombed by
Hafez and Rifaat Assad in 1982 for two straight weeks, resulting in over 20,000
deaths. That attack set the bar for an efficient end to popular civilian
Today, however, Syrians are bolder and more intolerant of
religious prejudice than they were in 1982, and the ethnic imbalance in Syria is
greater. It is therefore only a question of time before Syria becomes a theater
of war. If Assad remains fixated on staying in power violence will envelop the
Force is the only way to dislodge a violent regime. The recent
agreement between the Arab League and the Assad regime to position 150 observers
around the country to monitor events, when videos taken by courageous protesters
speak for themselves, is merely an attempt to distract our attention from regime
This first move by the Arab League to fill the vacuum left by the
US is but a snapshot of things to come: More disconnected policies and more
Thanks to such policies, Arabs are living in an aimless and
degenerate era, incapable of resolving the core problems facing 350 million
Muslims living in abject poverty and unmitigated ignorance. It’s all about
families ruling perpetually.
IN FACT, the answer to the White House’s
inaction and the self-indulgent, meaningless steps taken by the Arab League may
be found in the fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in high-level secret
negotiations today, something that a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) official
inadvertently confirmed to me in a private conversation. Those talks are most
likely to result in agreements on questions of “regional
Since toppling the Assad regime is considered a red line for
Iran, the countries are probably trading Syria for Bahrain and the oil-rich
eastern province populated by a repressed Shia majority. In other words, the GCC
would not seek regime change in Syria in return for Iran not whipping up the
Shia majority in Bahrain and the Shia in the Eastern province in Saudi
If so, relying on their media empires and Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Erdogan (who recently took over from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
as the most popular leader in the region) to calm the Syrian street is as futile
an exercise as sending monitors to Syria while Assad continues to kill
When Tunisia erupted last December, one of the first
actions taken by Saudi King Abdullah was to increase the salaries of public
employees by 60 percent, which simply shows how much the Arab League is out of
touch with reality and their people. Palaces with 24k gold plumbing cannot
co-exist indefinitely with the continued wasted hopes of the masses extending
their hands for charity to families they never elected.
Besides the Arab
League playing lead architect in the region, the unfolding tragedy in Syria has
only managed to gain ambivalent responses, including strong statements and tepid
sanctions, from the international community. Neither will bring about regime
change in Syria.
Washington’s inaction and the self-centered interests of
the Arab League beg the obvious question: Will Assad survive? This central issue
- a very real possibility - seems to have escaped the attention of many
international commentators and observers.
While it is difficult to
predict what precise actions Assad will take, there is no doubt he would turn
the whole country into a base of operations from which he could launch lowlevel
offensives against his enemies, be they countries or individuals.
even Europe, in light of its supposedly tight sanctions against his regime,
would be spared. Nor would Lebanon or Lebanese politicians, usually an easy
target given Hezbollah’s willingness and Lebanon’s divisive politics.
long as the various Arab League countries are spared and the US continues
detaching itself from the Middle East by handing responsibility for regional
leadership to countries like Turkey, all those who played a role in seeking
regime change in Syria will be affected.
This includes Israel, regardless
of the fact that Israel is a neutral player in this issue.
persuasive means of showing Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which has been vital in
shaping the Syria policy at the Arab League, they have more to lose from their
“Kumbaya” dance with Khameini than from regime change in Syria, the whole region
will suffer from the policies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The writer heads
the US-based Reform Party of Syria and has a blog dedicated to Syrian politics