Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / Great Arab Revolution / Articles
Assad may well overcome the crisis in the country, if to act cleverly and decisively...
Material posted: Publication date: 26-08-2012

It's been almost a year and a half since the beginning of the armed conflict in Syria. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, where such events were very transient, and Libya, where the war lasted for six months, but it all ended in regime change, the Syrian government continues to hold power and control most of the territory of the country, not giving the rebels and foreign mercenaries to overthrow the ruling regime.

Although most analysts and political figures of the West, Turkey and Arab countries of the Persian Gulf has predicted the fall of Bashar al-Assad over a year since the beginning of unrest in Syria. The conflict is obviously tightened, and to predict its outcome now hardly anyone can time, wins when one side or the other. One thing is clear – no one is going to give in and sit down at the negotiating table that provides numerous plans of the Arab League, the UN and various international initiatives. And lately even the TV channels "al Jazeera", "al-Arabiya" and other media have significantly reduced the volume of materials on the situation in Syria, and often do not even make it to first place in their releases.

A few weeks ago it seemed that Assad, his inner circle and military commanders here on the verge of flight or loss of power and the fighters of the FSA (free Syrian army) seizes Damascus and Aleppo. These expectations have especially increased after the terrorist attack in Damascus in July that killed prominent Syrian security forces, the fighting on the outskirts of Damascus and in Aleppo, fleeing former Syrian Prime Minister and other prominent figures of the regime in neighbouring Jordan and Turkey. But the government and army managed to regroup and deliver a powerful retaliatory strike on FSA troops and other insurgents, causing them heavy losses in manpower and knocking them out of the major cities of the country. Thus, the "Libyan scenario" to overthrow the regime fails in the absence of a factor external open military intervention in Syria in the form of imposing no-fly zones and air strikes of NATO on positions of the Syrian government army and the most important military structure of the country. This clearly proves that without foreign intervention, whether air strikes by the West on Syria or the invasion of a large Turkish military contingent on its territory to capture key cities in the country, the current Syrian leadership is, in principle, and suppress the armed insurgency of Islamist militants and mercenaries from several Arab and Islamic countries, even if they will get arms from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, generously purchased with the money of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Most likely, Gaddafi would be able to suppress the rebellion of his opponents from Kirisaki, United around entrenched in Benghazi around the motley composition of the top opponents of Colonel, if not for the introduction of a no-fly zone through a UN resolution, not a daily NATO air strikes on the positions of Libyan government forces, the direction in Libya commandos from several countries including special forces from Qatar. The loss of Gaddafi is not the victory of the Libyan "revolution", and the result of foreign intervention, and by the world's most powerful military bloc, with enormous military and technological advantage over Tripoli, with huge cash infusions of the same Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the rebels. If Gaddafi from the very beginning used hard military force and at the first stage of the conflict introduced armoured vehicles and troops in Benghazi and Tobruk, and now rules Libya. But he hoped for a softer version. Even NATO – GCC is not able to overcome him while in the war not intervened urgently the US, making a decisive contribution to the destruction of Libyan military infrastructure. As we recall, England and France alone could not achieve a breakthrough and requested the urgent intervention of the "senior" ally. As at the time only a direct US invasion of Iraq and its occupation by American troops in 2003 could lead to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, which is already being implemented the scheme on withdrawal of Baghdad from the sanctions regime of the UN security Council.

But, unlike the Iraqi army and troops of Gaddafi, weakened sanctions regime and technologically were somewhere in the early 80-ies and had no real defense and aviation, armed forces of Syria is quite able to resist foreign aggression, including a negative impact of NATO air forces. Furthermore, because Western and Arabian mass-media on mass desertion from the Syrian army, in General, government forces were able to maintain their combat effectiveness. Moreover, during the internal conflict there is a whole new generation of generals and senior officers who have gained the experience of warfare in an urban setting, Although I had to learn right in the field with no training or experience. Because the previous command was focused mainly on possible conflict with Israel. And, if we imagine that external military invasion will not happen, the internal war in Syria increasingly will develop according to the Algerian scenario of 1992 and 1998, when all seemed inevitable downfall of the ruling regime, which inherited power from the period of socialist transformation (somewhere like the build of the Arab BA'ath socialism in Syria during the Assad senior), under the blows of Islamist forces led by the Islamic salvation Front (FIS ), at whose side he fought, not so much the fighters, "well-mannered" inside ALGERIA, but also the so-called Arab Mujahideen that is, Algerians and other Arabs, have passed through the war in Afghanistan, after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from there "lost" the enemy as induced them to return home and start fighting against their own government, secular in its essence. In fact, the Islamists have openly fought in the suburbs of the Algerian capital and the largest cities inside ALGERIA, but the army resisted, although from the same Europe there have been calls for "democracy", suppressed by the military dictatorship to disperse the Algerian Parliament in 1992, which in that period would have meant the transfer of power into the hands of radical Islamic parties peacefully. The war lasted many years, but eventually the army took over, including because the majority of the Algerian population, including Kabyle minority, did not want to live under the dictation of Sharia law. Secular path of development based on European values of civilization, the Algerians were more expensive Salafi model of social organization.

Almost the same can be seen now in Syria, where a significant number of the Sunni population does not follow the "Muslim brotherhood" for fear of introducing the country's laws and regulations of life, copied in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Even nedolyublivaya Bashar al-Assad and his regime, the Syrian Sunnis prefer a more secular model of development and the European lifestyle (albeit with a local flavor). And a substantial portion of the population in the face of national and religious minorities, whether Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, alawites, Druze, Shiites and Christians, the arrival of Islamists to power would mean the end of significant social, political, cultural and civic equality, which they enjoy under the present regime.

That is very important is the internal conflict in the country did not support the middle class, on whose position depends the survival of any regime. When clan Asadov that he can live and work and successfully flourished. To expect the same from the radical Islamists of the Syrian middle class. He needs stability and enough freedom, and possible restrictions based on religious dogmas, will only stifle opportunities for development.

Within the opposition there is no unity of views on the future device of Syria, nor a brilliant leader, able to become the spokesman of interests of all its groups and factions. So so and not found the answer to the question – with whom there can be dialogue if he started? "Muslim brotherhood" want one thing, liberals another Pro-Western orientation, but the PAS – the third. And inside each of these forces have their differences. Initially taking over the function of a kind of coordinator of the opposition coalition B. a Latrine, who lived decades in exile, this role failed. Other figures who attempted to replace him, also not be pulled with the role of a single leader. However, given the special role of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in financing the "revolution" and supply her need of fighters and weapons, there is an increasing Islamization and radicalization of the opposition.

In addition to the above internal factors contributing to the survival of the Syrian regime, no less significant role played by external circumstances. First, Israel did not support plans for the overthrow of Assad, which in principle could negotiate a truce. To war again with Israel Damascus in any case not going to. But the coming to power in Syria is radical Islamists, especially when in Egypt, "Muslim brotherhood" already took power and issued calls for the freezing of relations, if not to break the peace agreement with the Jewish state, hardly happy Israelis. Even against the backdrop of strengthening the Palestinian wing of the brotherhood in the face of Hamas, the rise of Islamist sentiment in Jordan and the strengthening of HEZBOLLAH in Lebanon.

Secondly, the principled position of Russia, supported by China to prevent the adoption of UN security Council resolution under the 7th Chapter of the UN Charter as an international umbrella to cover the foreign armed interference in Syria's internal Affairs, imposing no-fly zones in airspace of ATS and tool total embargo and sanctions against Damascus. Russia and China have twice used the veto in the Security Council for the failure of such draft resolutions and decided not to participate in various gatherings of the conference "friends of Syria", where only the representatives of the Syrian opposition, but there are no representatives of the legitimate government of the country. While in Moscow did not abandon contacts with the Syrian opposition, particularly the part of it that is not directly involved in the militant activities of a terrorist nature, whilst maintaining a full dialogue with the official Syrian authorities. Moscow supported the plan of Kofi Annan as mediator of the UN and Arab League and UN peacekeeping mission in Syria. Russia's position is quite clear: the Syrians themselves must resolve their problems without foreign military intervention from outside, preferably through dialogue between the warring parties. Although today it is quite clear that the opposition groups for talks with government will not, even if they can be organized under Arab or international auspices.

The experience of Libya showed that oral assurances given by NATO leaders are worthless, and UN security Council resolution they interpret differently than what they recorded. But this position of Russia and China does not mean that Moscow and Beijing build up their own line only because I don't want to overthrow the government in a country that historically was considered an ally in the middle East. The explanation is found deeper in their own interests and fears Russia and China, and the global plan. The war in Libya and Syria is in fact a testing ground for developing the US and its NATO allies new world order scheme, where the rule (in existing international law) principle of respect for state sovereignty should be replaced by a notion of feasibility of foreign interference in the internal Affairs of other States under the pretext of humanitarian expediency. Simply put – one mode or the other may be replaced by another or by organizing "color revolutions" (partially proven in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Central Asia), or, if "revolutionaries" are not able to achieve the task, to intervene, until the use of military methods from the bombing and destruction from the air of the armed forces and their facilities to direct military intervention of the army. To determine the need for this "humanitarian" intervention is not the UN, NATO, or some international coalition to bypass the UN. Yesterday it was Libya, today Syria, tomorrow will be the turn of Iran, and then turn to reach Russia and China. To carry out military intervention in Russia and China yet no one dares because of the presence of both countries have nuclear weapons. But to organize the opposition, well funded, to foment conflicts on religious or ethnic violence in multiethnic countries such as Russia and China, including through cash injections from Gulf countries, are ready to support Islamists all over the world, not so difficult. Moreover, still fresh in the memories of who generously sponsored fighters and sent mercenaries from Arab and Islamic countries to Chechnya to preserve the flame of separatist rebellion. Many former fighters still safely reside on the territories of several Arab monarchies, for example, numerous (several hundred people) the supporters of former "President" of so-called Ichkeria Z. Yandarbiyev in Qatar.

Role and other external factors, helping Assad to avoid total international isolation. We are talking about the interest of Iran to maintain it in power, because Tehran understands, what can be the replacement of the ruling Alawite clan on "Brothers – Muslims", which will immediately cease relations with Shi'ite Tehran. Started fermentation and in neighboring Lebanon, and so cannot "move away" from their regular interdenominational squabbles. Everyone understands perfectly that the end of the rule of Bashar al-Assad is likely to lead to a new split of Lebanon and the beginning of another war there. Yes and the main Arab sponsor of the Syrian rebels – Saudi Arabia – things are not smooth, especially in recent weeks. The king is seriously ill, and it is unknown what the outcome of his last exacerbation of the condition. The crown Prince after the death of his predecessor could not achieve the position of a person in consolidating the ruling clan of al Saud. Each of the narrow circle of the Royal family pulls the blanket over himself. And then there's a new aggravation of the situation in the Eastern province, where the vast majority of the population are Shia and which produces almost all the oil the KSA. And on the border with Yemen cosity of the Shia do not give rest. According to many analysts who know the region, the possible death of the Saudi king and disagreements in the ruling clan amid Shiite unrest in the Eastern province may lead to the collapse of the Kingdom, largely artificially created 80 years ago from dissimilar parts of the Arabian Peninsula. According to some information, a map of new formations on the territory of KSA, based on old schemes of British colonial times, reportedly already exists. Especially the younger generation of Saudis requires modernization and democratic change, not wanting to remain a prisoner of the obsolete norms of conservative Wahhabism. There can be no Arab revolutions and Syria, where it's in their own country can start their own "spring". Even in relatively prosperous Qatar, one of the main financial and ideological sponsor of the Syrian insurgency, things are not so good, given that Emir Hamad is increasingly experiencing an exacerbation of a severe form of diabetes, is constantly vanishing from the public, and the heir is clearly not gaining weight, to change father. Yes, and within the princely clan not subside their differences. The main conductor of the hard line in the Qatari processes in the Arab "spring" – the country's Prime Minister Hamid bin Jassim obviously tired and depressed by the fact that the Syrian regime continues to hold power and didn't even get close to the line, crossing which would mean an inability to suppress or crush the militants.

So, apparently, the resistance coefficient of Bashar al-Assad and his supporters has not been exhausted. But the FSA is clearly not enough forces to achieve a military breakthrough in battles with government troops. Yes and the influx of "soldiers" cannot continue indefinitely. Its ranks are strong of losses that are not already filled. There is a confusion. Entrenched in Turkey, the leadership of the opposition doesn't know what to do next. Hence the calls emanating from her and the Arabian monarchs to the United States to intervene immediately. Without the American military machine of the regime in Damascus is not likely to break. And, while the U.S. is not going along with this, remembering the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Another war in the region, Washington simply will not pull. Even if we oust the supporters of Assad from Damascus, it's not the end of the war. Bass players, security forces, army troops, national and religious minorities will develop resistance throughout the country. It is possible that all this will not end with the collapse of Syria into enclaves, with negative consequences for neighbouring countries. This is especially dangerous for Turkey and Iraq, where an acute Kurdish problem. In Syria, the Kurds have already de facto in control of the situation in places of their compact residence, along the border with Turkey and Iraq, having the tacit consent of Damascus. It urges Iraqi Kurds to realize his long-held dream of secession from Baghdad and the establishment of their independent state. One can only assume, then what happens in Turkish Kurdistan. The creation of a large Kurdish state out of Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian districts with the population of 30-35 million people, almost in the heart of the Middle East, rich in oil and which has an advantageous strategic position, would mean a complete redrawing of the map of the region with far-reaching geopolitical consequences for the whole world. Maybe that's why the United States and Turkey, making loud statements in the address of Damascus, from the implementation of the "Libyan scenario" in Syria have so far refused. Too high stakes and high risks. The EU wouldn't its task to survive in conditions of acute crisis in the Eurozone, to save the EU and its financial system. When the economy is not bursting before the war.

Assad may well overcome the crisis in the country, if to act cleverly and decisively, if it will not betray their own, as happened with S. Hussein in 2003, and the regime consolidates all its forces and means and to direct blows at the weak spots of the enemy, by making a split in the ranks of the opposition. Once it happened in Algeria. Why situation is not repeated in Syria?

P. P. Lviv


Tags: war , Syria

RELATED MATERIALS: Politics and Geopolitics