The Mideastwire Blog

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

The Failure of Oblique Diplomacy in Syria

This is an interesting article, translated tonight in our briefing, which is likely fairly accurate. It confirms for me the core idea that, yes, of course, the Assad regime parts and whole were NEVER going to negotiate, concede a bit, reform a bit – even when egged on or beged by its Resistance Axis partners, as seems likely.

But everyone who knows the regime and its structure and its inherent brutality should have known that. The point, or rather the far smarter and less bloody strategy, would have been to draw the regime in closer after Daraa to the Western fold, break down the barriers between the regime and outside preponderant powers (and yes there were multiple pathways for doing that which were also politically viable – though costly true – before the killing machine started in late 2011), and gradually Mubarikize the Assad structure.

The objective would have been and should have been to get the regime structure linked close enough to divide and break it when the right moment came, to control and diminish the SUBSTANTIAL WMD capacity which is the real game changer here in the coming period, and thereby obliquely undermine the regime’s ability and desire to exercise violence at home or abroad.

When you read pieces like this below, and stack up the real capabilities on the ground for massive destruction and wide open, negative contingency, this really was always the only reasonable game in town. Sadly, no one had the courage to even discuss this third way, much less implement it: which leaves us and syrians especially on their way to what one activist promised to the new york times in 2011: maybe “one million syrians will have to die for freedom.”

Of course, it will be many more than syrians who die if the climactic fight comes and the regime decides to exercise the Samson Option which is clearly possesses and which is is morally predisposed, evidently, to activate without much sleeplessness.


On April 3, the independent Al-Rai al-Aam daily carried the following report: “…The sources started with the Deraa events more than two years ago “and even prior to the Deraa events at the launching of the Arab Spring when the Hamas officials spoke to a number of Syrian security and political officials mainly, President Bashar al-Assad, about the difficulty of maintaining Syria isolated from the surrounding events and the need to carry out some serious reforms or at least to launch such reforms.” The sources asserted that Al-Assad “was fully convinced by each word uttered by the movement officials uttered especially concerning the reforms. However, nothing happened.”

“Then the incident of the Deraa school children took place followed by arrests and torture practices carried out against the parents and some youths. The sources said that officials from the Hamas movement including the head of the politburo, Khaled Mashal met with President Al-Assad and “asked him to rule out the security-related solution …” The officials went even as far as to tell Al-Assad that “even if some regional and international sides want to escalate things, our interests call for tuning the matter down and containing the crisis politically…” The sources added: “However, the opposite took place. The Great Al-Omari Mosque in Deraa was invaded leaving a number of dead victims and this stirred the anger of all the regions and people.”

“…The sources revealed that, during his last meeting with a Hamas delegation, President Al-Assad asked the movement to issue a statement to respond to Sheikh Youssef al-Kardawi who had attacked the Syrian authorities. The delegation responded by saying: “Mr. President, the matter goes beyond the statement and counter-statement of a religious cleric. The clerics must not be responded to. Delegates must rather be sent to them…” At this point, according to the sources, Al-Assad ultimately refused to receive any Hamas delegations anymore.

“For the following ten months, the movement tried hard to do anything in order to solve the Syrian crisis not losing hope even after Al-Assad boycotted it. Mashal went to see Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. He met with him for five and a half hours alone and he stressed on the need to do something to stop the events in Syria. He asked him to meet with Al-Assad and to call on him to revoke the security dealing and to adopt a political solution…

“The sources said that Nasrallah agreed with Mashal. He indeed went to see Al-Assad and came back and told Mashal that the Syrian president approves the efforts carried by the movement. Mashal returned to Damascus to proceed with his attempts. He however did not meet with Al-Assad. He rather met with four officials: Farouk al-Sharaa, Walid al-Muallem, Ali Mamlouk, and Abdel Fattah Kodsieh… “All the four officials shared his view and encouraged him and wanted to see a political solution at any price.” According to the sources, this explains the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah maintained a good relation and so did Mashal and Nasrallah…

“Furthermore, the sources revealed that even the Muslim Brothers “were originally willing to accept reforms. Ali al-Bayanouni and Riad al-Shakfeh asked the Hamas leaders during the Khartoum conference to encourage Al-Assad to carry out reforms. Al-Assad was indeed informed of that but nothing happened. The sources also asserted that seven months following the breaking out of the crisis, Mashal rejected an Iranian demand to hold negotiations with the Syrian Brothers without obtaining Al-Assad’s authorization in fear that the latter might disapprove of the outcome that might be reached with the Brothers.

“Would it have been possible to avoid the Syrian crisis had Al-Assad opted for the political rather than the security-related solution? The answer is a definite “yes” for the Hamas leaders according to the sources. [The sources] refused to hold Al-Assad’s entourage responsible for the present situation. They indicated that the Syrian president “is arrogant and inexperienced. This is the result of arrogance and the lack of experience.” The same sources also stressed that, had Hafez al-Assad been alive, he would have dealt different with this matter and he would have realized that the situation now is different from the situation in the 1980s since the crisis is now taking place on TV screens while the news in the 1980s used to become available only days later. In addition, the confrontation back them was only with the Muslim Brothers. One group could not have vanquished the state while the present Syrian crisis involves all the classes of the Syrian people.

“The sources said that the events in Syria resemble the case of a father who has never been used to hearing the word “no” from his children. When one of these children objected, the father slapped him. “Indeed, things in Syria have been unchanged for forty years. Suddenly, the people started demanding their rights.” The sources added that, despite it all, the Hamas leaders remain loyal to the Syrian leadership, which has given them something that no one else did. However, Hamas is no longer willing to cover up for the ongoing events. The movement’s position currently is to abstain from interfering in the Syrian affairs.”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

April 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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