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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Will Happen In Syria The Day After Assad Is Gone?

Now that there is a growing awareness that the Assad regime in Syria may very well be on its last legs, Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi writes for JCPA about The "Day After" Scenario in Syria.

The prognosis does not not appear promising.
Here is a summary of his article:
  • The moment of truth is approaching in Syria. Bashar Assad's regime is fighting a rearguard battle and has already lost control over large parts of the country. Syria's vice president, Farouq al-Shara, admitted in an interview in the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar on December 17 that he did not believe that the Syrian army could win the present confrontation.

  • It is unlikely that Assad's regime believes the use of chemical weapons can restore the previous situation in Syria. It appears probable that the regime will instead seek to transfer most of the surviving loyal forces and strategic (including chemical) weaponry to the Alawite enclave in the west of the country to serve as a deterrent to acts of revenge and a political card for ensuring the Alawite community's status in a future Syrian order.
  • While the U.S. and other Western countries have recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the sole and exclusive representative of the Syrian people, the rebel forces regard the new leadership as having been imposed on them, and are prepared at most to accept it as a temporary actor that can mobilize the international support needed to complete the endeavor of toppling the regime.

  • In actuality, the dominant forces in Syria are the military frameworks that have waged the campaign against the regime since March 2011. The overwhelming majority, if not all, espouse an Islamist, jihadist, Salafist outlook.

  • The full backing of the fighting forces for Jahbat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Qaeda, against the U.S. and the West likely indicates the future direction of the Syrian revolution, which appears ready to adopt Islamism as the main basis of the government that will replace the Assad regime.

  • After overthrowing the Assad regime, a potential military-terrorist threat to Israel will likely emerge in the transition period, which will be marked by governmental instability and a lack of central control over at least some of the fighting forces.
One item of interest not mentioned in the summary is that while the fall of the Assad regime will be a blow to Iran, that does not mean the West will immediately and definitively benefit. The fact is that even with Iran supporting the massacres in Syria, Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood maintained ties to them. The bottom line that they all continue to subscribe to is fighting Western influence in the Middle East in general -- and countering Israel.

The West has done nothing to change this, and by virtue of the weakness of their response may have made matters worse.

Read the whole thing.

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