Sunday, February 19, 2012

Syria at a standstill?

I have been posting and writing less about the events in Syria, and I think this might do with the fact that - in reality - the situation is at a complete standstill at the moment. There is the odd conference or press statement here and there, some sabre rattling and strong words, but - on the international level - there is simply nothing that anybody can do to help topple the Syrian regime. Now in any other situation I'd probably say things were starting to look bleak for the Syrian people, but after seeing the enormous demonstration in Mazzeh yesterday I just can't help thinking that the regime can and will be toppled only by the efforts of Syrians themselves.

I know it sounds a bit idealistic and naive, but the truth is that Syrians allowed themselves to be terrorised by Assad's regime for so long, and in the past eleven months they have broken down this fear and have performed the previously unthinkable. Let the Free Syrian Army be some bedraggle of deserters and volunteers, and let us acknowledge the fact that they don't have enough weapons. The fact remains that the regime simply cannot continue terrorising people and forcing them to stay in their homes. The whole country is up in arms and Assad is a very worried and scared man.

Some might say that the Muslim Brotherhood insurrection lasted for over three years. I'd say that firstly this is not 1982, and secondly - much to the chagrin of naive "resistance" demagogues - the Muslim Brotherhood are not calling the shots of this revolution. It is still driven by the local committees, and people on the streets. For all the geo-strategic claptrap that I've been seeing from pro-regime Syrians I still keep in contact with, or with pro-Assad supporters, the one fact that they conveniently ignore is the enormous casualty rate which is a direct result of Assad's repression. There is no desire to discuss, debate or understand. They simply wish to start the conversation from a point of their choosing, the foreign conspiracy.

Of course this is a situation that I have long recognised to be impassable. There is only so long and so far you can go in attempting to establish a dialogue with the opposite side, and after that it is just conflict. The same scenario has been played out across Syrian society, and now those who want to support Assad, and those who want to oppose him, will just have to go at it and see who has the will to see this through to the end. It's as simple, and as tragic, as that. Like many Syrians, I simply don't care about a "foreign conspiracy" and a geo-strategic plot to undermine the "resistance". It is nonsense to say that a people should put up with torture and corruption because of the security situation, or until Palestine is "freed". The absurdity of such an argument is incredible. What freedom are we talking about for the Palestinian people if the regime said to be important for this goal rules its own people with an iron fist and from the barrel of a gun?

The Damascus protests in Mazzeh yesterday were breathtaking to watch, and I know those streets like the back of my hand. The fact that a protest of this size managed to slip through the security net means that the minute Assad's control is weakened we can expect to see enormous crowds in Damascus again. That I feel certain of. Only months ago we saw this enormous Syrian flag festooned across that same thoroughfare by "supporters" of the regime. Yesterday was a different story, and the fact that the regime's thugs opened fire on clearly unarmed and peaceful protesters should be enough for all but the most stubborn defenders of dictatorship that Assad's time is up.


Nobody said...

More indications that the Syrian army is severely overstretched

Nobody said...

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