Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War

  • On the second anniversary of the Syrian civil war, those who hurriedly announced the demise of the Assad regime realize that the existing power structures are strong enough to endure a war of attrition with the rebels even with the loss of large portions of sovereign Syrian territory.
  • Some analysts claim that the Syrian civil war began in 1980 when a group of Muslim Brothers stormed the military academy in Aleppo and, after separating the Alawite and Sunni cadets, cold-bloodedly killed the Alawites with knives and assault rifles. The regime retaliated in 1982 by brutally killing more than 20,000 Muslim Brothers in Homs and Hama.
  • The coalition of minorities around Assad has not disintegrated and the pillars of the regime remain in place. Assad has proved that he has the resolve to conduct effective campaigns against the rebels in a very hostile international environment, while continuing to rule and provide for the daily life of the population under his control. Two million Alawites also understand the implications of a Sunni Islamist regime in Syria, even one of the Egyptian model.
  • Information on events in Syria has come from mostly biased sources. The Syrian NGO known as the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights has become a privileged source of information on Syria. Yet, in fact, it is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • The United States and Europe face an impossible dilemma: on the one hand, they would like Assad to fall; on the other, they do not want an Islamist regime that is worse than the ones that succeeded Mubarak in Egypt and Ben-Ali in Tunisia.
  • The same dilemma confronts Israel. On the one hand, Jerusalem would like to see an end to the Iranian-led “axis of evil.” On the other, the prospect of a militant Islamic regime, linked to al-Qaeda and possessing the Syrian military arsenal, is a nightmare Jerusalem cannot live with.
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