The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

The basic argument on Syria

A lot to post after two weeks of Beirut Exchange meetings, including with Hizbullah. Suffice it to say that they are digging in their heels on the conspiracy plane and are really doing a poor job of repositioning in relation to the evident violence and injustice in Syria.

This will hurt them now and in the long run – they seem to know it but believe or hint that the most likely near term scenario is a game changing event like war which would wipe away the negative side of Hizbullah’s rhetorical and substantive positionings of late. more on this later.

This was a decent FP piece which concluded:

“…The danger of the simulacrum is that it could become reality. If the regime doesn’t disintegrate quickly, the state will disintegrate gradually, and then the initiative could be seized by the kind of tough men who command local loyalty by providing the basics and avenging the dead. If violence continues at this pitch for much longer, it’s easy to imagine local and sectarian militias forming, with the Sunnis receiving funding from the Persian Gulf.

Such a scenario would be a disaster for Syrians of all backgrounds. The ripple effects would be felt in Lebanon (which would likely be sucked into the fray), Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and beyond. It could also give a second life to the Wahhabi-nihilist groups currently relegated to irrelevance by the new democratic mood in the region.

Let’s hope the boil bursts before either of these wars occurs. The economy may collapse catastrophically, at which point almost every Syrian would have to choose between revolution and starvation. Under continued pressure, the regime may destroy itself through internecine conflict, or it may surrender when mass desertions make the military option unfeasible. The manner of bringing the boil to eruption remains obscure. What seems certain is that the regime will not be able to bring Syria back under its heel.”

— My point on Syria is that it is NOT  likely that the boil will “burst” even somewhat cleanly…. and that accelerating the regime’s contradictions/pressure points is merely making the nice idea of a regime breakdown even MORE untenable.

This regime will fight to the last levantine – and IT CAN, quite easily in fact with one SMALL decision….

As such, accepting this moral balance as it is – and the limits of external power – means finding A DIFFERENT track to the schenker/tabler/CONSENSUS TRACK on accelerating pressures … this must be priority number one.

In fact, with the regime wounded, I believe a different approach of easing the direct pressure and drawing the regime in to undermine their position more broadly, with greater effect – especially if a reasonable road map for stability and transition is rejected! – is still open.

At the very least – please lets start talking about real alternatives – if the Iraq war taught us anything it is the need for such a frank and robust discussion.



Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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