Syria: If the regime were to fall

Syria: If the regime were to fall

By Claude Salhani - Trend:

In most other countries a war on a similar scale as the conflict that has been tearing Syria apart would have stopped long ago with the government running away in the dead of the night with suitcases stuffed with hard cash, preferably U.S. dollars or euros, as was the case in Tunisia. Or the army would have stood united, refusing to fire on its own people, as happened in Egypt.

But in Syria surrender is not an option because it is not just the president and his immediate entourage that stand to loose everything they have, including their lives. If the president were to leave, it is the entire structure of the regime, the Baath Party, the military and the dreaded secret police that would suffer. And one must not forget the "shabiha", the civilian goons that have raped, pillaged and plundered, quite literally. Their job was to instill fear in the people so that they would not join the revolt.

Indeed, if the Syrian leadership were toppled, its leaders expect certain death; if they are lucky it will be a quick death. Other key figures of the Assad government, the elders and leaders of the Alawi community and the Baath Party can expect similar treatment.
Think of the political structure of the country as an inverted pyramid with Bashar at the bottom, holding up the entire structure. Immediately above him would be his mother, brothers, sisters, their husbands, children and immediate family members. Above them would be cousins and other relatives, such as in-laws, etc. Next would be the first tier of close associates, government ministers, party officials and high-ranking military officers, and so on. And at the very top level would be the rank and file of the military and party foot soldiers.
If the keystone holding up the pyramid, Bashar, were to fall then the entire infrastructure would collapse like a house of cards. This is why the fighters are so engaged and so adamant to win. Both sides realize the importance of holding their ground and not succumbing to whatever pressures they may face. They are fighting for their lives and for those of their families.

Assad will hold out regardless of the consequences. In recent weeks the situation appears to have shifted in his favor. Assad still enjoys the support of a portion on the Syrian population, believed to be around 30 percent. This is a far cry from the 97.9 percent the president claims to have won at the last election, or the 99.9 percent that his father Hafez used to score.
The president also has the support of minority groups such as the Christians, the Alawites of course, and the Druze.

"This support should not be interpreted as the existence of real sympathy for the regime, but rather as the prevalent feeling among many that an alternative regime could be even worse," said Nikolaos van Dam, a former Dutch diplomat who served his country as ambassador to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Germany and Indonesia, and author of "The Struggle for Political Power in Syria."

"Many Syrians for the time being prefer to preserve their livelihoods under the existing dictatorship rather than having their livelihoods, their shops and spare sources of income and belongings destroyed as a result of the internal war, let alone having themselves and their families be killed," said the Dutch diplomat during a speech given in Berlin earlier this week.
If some Syrians are still having doubts whether President Assad should go or stay, the international community is equally, if not all the more so, in doubt.

The West initially said that it would arm the resistance and help it get rid of the regime. However, without the proper armament it is practically impossible for the opposition to win militarily. And the West has been reluctant to offer any substantial military hardware for fear it may fall into the hands of the Islamists.

Once again it appears the West has broken a promise by not providing ample equipment to fight a modern war against a fully equipped Syrian army. The West has also lost credibility when it drew a red line where chemical weapons were concerned and then did nothing when they were deployed and the red line crossed.

There will be no Western military intervention with "boots on the ground." That says the Dutch diplomat "seems to be out of the question." There was at some point talk of establishing "no-fly zones" as in Iraq, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Further analysis of the situation leaves one to believe that perhaps the only concrete action that the West will it take is that eventually, the perpetrators of war crimes being committed in Syria, regardless of which side they are on today, will be hunted down and brought to stand trial in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Calling for justice for the crimes that have been committed, has to be done, say human rights groups. In the interim, the West should stop raising false expectations, as it has so often done in the past.
--
(This is the third of three articles on the war in Syria based on a speech given by Ambassador van Dam, which was reprinted on SyriaComment.com).
--
Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend Agency in Baku and a political analyst specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and terrorism. You can follow him on Twitter @claudesalhani

Timeframe for orbiting Turkish satellites Turksat 5A, Turksat 6A announced
Timeframe for orbiting Turkish satellites Turksat 5A, Turksat 6A announced
Export of carpets from Turkey abroad drops two-fold in May 2020
Export of carpets from Turkey abroad drops two-fold in May 2020
Turkey's export of defense products from January through May 2020 declines
Turkey's export of defense products from January through May 2020 declines
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijani PM to reveal details related to restrictions
Volume of deposits in national currency greatly increases in Azerbaijan
Activity of Facebook users in Azerbaijan keeps growing
Operational Headquarters: Going outside may be banned in some Azerbaijani cities
TABIB: Shopping malls planned to be fully closed on weekend in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan names economy sector with biggest share of credit investments
Kazakhstan to up its gross agricultural output before year-end
Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers:Tightening quarantine regime rules under discussion
Ministry of transport eyes transferring airports of Uzbekistan to foreign investors
Timeframe for orbiting Turkish satellites Turksat 5A, Turksat 6A announced
Azerbaijan discloses data on collection of premiums in insurance market in April 2020
Bank of Georgia launches campaign to support farmers
Iran aims to boost export of mineral products
Azerbaijan confirms 325 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijani Azexport portal notes growing export orders after softening quarantine regime
Azerbaijan State Tax Service talks concessions made to taxpayers
Azexport portal talks availability of Facebook Shop in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to launch drinking water supply and sewerage systems in Aghjabadi (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president inaugurates “ASAN xidmet” center in Aghjabadi (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to start grain harvest in Aghjabadi
Export of carpets from Turkey abroad drops two-fold in May 2020
Association of Uzbek textile manufacturers talks about progress of industry
Travel by railway remains suspended in Georgia
Ambassadors of EU member states interested in reopening tourism sector in Georgia
Turkey's export of defense products from January through May 2020 declines
Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits northern Chile, copper mines say unaffected
France says latest U.S. trade threats over digital tax a 'contradiction'
SOCAR subsidiary starts producing raw material for medical masks fabric
Azercell introduces new “Mobile TV” service for kids
Trump administration set to bar Chinese passenger carriers from flying to U.S.
Investments help Kazakhstan raise agriculture goods processing
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region growing foreign potatoes
Italy may use new Kazakhstan-tested platform to track quarantine compliance
Azerbaijani president visits military unit in Aghdam
Baku Stock Exchange pays interest on bonds of Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund
Georgia, Estonia discuss cooperation in field of transportation, tourism
Agriculture sector digitalization leads to significant money savings in Kazakhstan
Turkey's export of cars abroad from January through May 2020 slips
Airlines cut fares to help boost May traffic
Export of Turkey's export of ready-made clothes down compared to 2019
Georgia expects average cherry crop
Netherlands, Azerbaijan could create train connection
Azerbaijan developing new alternative energy project
Saudi, Russia reach deal on oil cuts, raising pressure for compliance
Uzbek textile products in great demand on French market
German bans digital doppelganger passport photos
Textile industry of Uzbekistan - fastest growing sector of country's economy
Quarantine regime to be strengthened in Kazakhstan’s Almaty city
Azerbaijani enterprise starts exporting canned goods to US
EU implements new projects to support vulnerable groups in Georgia
Payments of insurance claims by four Azerbaijani insurers decline
Export of Turkey's leather products to int'l markets down
Azerbaijani Azexport portal talks Facebook Shops integration
Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna decreases its share in Kazatomprom
ADB continues to support Azerbaijan’s efforts to diversify its energy mix
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya opens tender to buy various equipment, spare vehicle parts
Turkey's export of wood, furniture abroad from January through May 2020 plummets
Coronavirus negatively affects almost all sectors of Georgian economy
Kazakhstan records decrease in money transfer volume
Oil, gas exploration work to be held throughout Turkey
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for procurement of pump repair kit
Hajj pilgrimage from Azerbaijan may not take place this year
Azerbaijan's Agricultural Insurance Fund talks managing company branding
Azerbaijan's pomegranate association aims to increase export volumes
BoE says advising banks to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit
16 insurance companies increase payment of insurance claims in Azerbaijan
Belgium to open bars and restaurants but not nightclubs
Azerbaijani president attends inauguration of Tartar branch of “Azerkhalcha” OJSC (PHOTO)
GNERC: Over 20% of business entities provided with internet services in Georgia
Cargo transshipment through Turkey's Antalya port disclosed
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to int'l markets marginally up
Exhibition of historical Baku photos opens on Baku boulevard (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani pomegranate association reveals new export targets
Turkey's export to D-8 countries down from Jan. through Apr. 2020
Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region completing preparations for wheat harvesting
Sumgait Technologies Park talks export of aluminum to Central Asia
Cargo transshipment from Greece via Turkish ports disclosed
State share of Kafolat Insurance Company sold in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's Central Bank talks problematic insurance companies
Uzbek Ipak Yuli Bank, EBRD increasing their support to entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan
Uzbek-Korean JV buys sockets, switches via tender
Bank loans on rise in Azerbaijan
Turkey, US trade turnover suffers drop in April 2020
Azerbaijani president opens newly renovated highway (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan evaluates new varieties of cotton
Net revenue of Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas plummets in 1Q2020
Turkish ministry reveals cargo transshipment through local Hopa port
Azerbaijani president launches newly renovated 'Tartar' power substation (PHOTO)
Chamber of Commerce talks problems created by ministries' merger in Iran
Coronavirus body count in Iran surpasses 8,000
Kazakh uranium producing company opens tender for equipment repair
Uzbekneftegaz, LUKOIL to create joint venture to develop fields in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani president attends opening of Tartar Olympic Sports Complex
Kazakhstan's oil & gas company to buy spare parts for piston pumps via tender
Uzbekistan supports local tourism sector
Demand for land plots in suburbs increases in Georgia
Oil tops $40 for 1st time since March on OPEC cuts, demand recovery
Azerbaijani president inaugurates State Symbols Museum in Tartar (PHOTO)
Germany to lift travel ban for EU, Schengen countries and UK from June 15
Turkish general directorate to implement several energy projects
All news