Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Syria War: A Layperson's View of Assad's Comeback

Assad's Victory- reprinted from the Facebook site of Dr. Faisal Alkasim

Dear Readers,
I've been hemming and hawing about writing this because I'm not an expert, but the situation in Syria cannot be ignored. An estimated 150,000 have died, millions have been displaced, and the rest of the Syrian people are suffering from the Syrian war.

I thought I'd share my thoughts about how the Assad government made a comeback.

When the war in Syria started, the matter seemed cut and dried: the Syrian people wanted freedom; they wanted an end to the Assad government. Hafiz al-Assad had ruled Syria since 1971; his son Bashar al-Assad took over the presidency in 2000. The Arab Spring caught on in Syria in March 2011, but the pro-democracy protests were met by lethal force from the Assad security forces,  starting the war in Syria.

In the beginning, to many, it was clear that Assad was, to put it simplistically, the "bad guy." It was easy to root for the "good guys" or rebels who opposed the repressive Assad government.

As the war went on, other countries and political entities got involved. Iran and Russia and the Hezbollah backed Assad. Those opposed to Assad included the Sunni states of the Middle East (Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia); and the Western countries of France, Britain, and the US opposed Assad. Even thrill-seeking jihadists from various countries joined the fracas.

For a while it seemed as if Assad would be forced to leave, but I recall specific incidents which marked a turning point in favor of Assad.  These events had to do with arms shipment targeted for the moderate rebels and which ended up in the hands of Islamic militants. There were several articles about this, including one in which an Islamic group attacked a moderate rebel camp. When I read that the moderate rebels did not put up much of a resistance but basically forked over the weapons, I knew Western support for them would stop or be minimized.

These events plus the aggressive involvement of hard-line Islamists in Syria pretty much cooled Western support for the moderate rebels in Syria. ISIS and the Jabhat al-Nusra are not acceptable to the West; the West does not want their military arms ending up in the hands of Islamic hardliners. Eventually, the moderate rebels realized that ISIS has its own agenda, and they fought to kick them out, but these efforts came too late I believe.

The truth is that to the ordinary American, the word "Islamist" is enough to frighten them. To many, there is little difference between hard-line Islamist or moderate Islamist. No matter how sympathetic Americans are to the Syrian civilians, they do not wish another involvement in still another war, and in this case, a very complicated war.

Further, the fact that there are countless rebel groups in Syria creates a sense of total chaos and promotes the idea that there is no clear leadership on the moderate rebel side.

To a simple person like me, these are some of the reasons why the Assad government, which had been flagging, made a turn-around and gained momentum in crushing the rebellion in Syria.

I recently read that the last rebels from Homs were evacuated to rebel areas in the North; the writer indicated that even though this ends the fighting in Homs (and other places where this so-called negotiation between the government and the rebels occurred) this move guarantees that Syria will be split. That's another headache looming in the future.

Assad has for now crushed the rebels into temporary silence. If you call this winning, then he has this victory. But the rebellion in people's hearts has not ended. Until the original demands for freedom, which brought about the Syrian Revolution of 2011 are met, there is no real victory for Assad, no real peace for the Syrian people.

One last thing -- the forthcoming "elections" in Syria is a joke; any thinking human being knows that this is a farce. Let me guess, Bashar al-Assad will have 80%-83% of the Syrian votes.

In the meantime, I am deeply sorry that the Syrian people are suffering.

The pictures are courtesy of The Syrian Revolution 2011, and Dr. Faisal al-Qasim.
Read also
Muslims Condemn ISIS
Syria - Bashar al-Assad's Victory "Mine! Mine! All Mine!
Not So Fast Messrs Putin, Assad, and Kim Jong Un!
Syria's Assad Accused of boosting Al-Qaeda with secret oil deals

tags: Syria, Syrian, Middle East, war, revolution, Arab Spring, election, Assad, genocide, Homs, Damascus, Aleppo

This is all for now,

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