How one defines
Syria’s troubles determines one’s prescriptions. Evidence that a silent
majority did not want violent conflict and preferred a political solution
leading to reform is not easily dismissible. And Syrian politics, unlike Libya
under Gaddafi’s ‘personal rule’, is not about Assad.
One can no
longer say that Syria is a moderate, pragmatic, stabilizing and secular
regional centre keeping extremism at bay - a natural function of its geography,
relatively diverse ethno-sectarian make-up, as well as the political
sophistication of its people.
The Saudi regime and
Washington are fundamentally working at cross-purposes, for the Saudis’ nemesis
is al-Qaeda-like groups, not the Muslim Brotherhood, which will most likely be
the beneficiary of armed chaos.
Washington will set in motion a process it cannot control, to the
calamity of the Syrian people.
Syria is hard to categorize in relation to the Arab spring, because of its people’s multifaceted relationship to the Syrian state and current regime, their fear of a fundamentalist takeover, civil war, resistance to foreign-imposed regime change and to military intervention.
Totalitarian rule, war, sanctions, invasion, destruction, sectarian suspicions, western manipulation all have brought Iraq to its knees. Any formula that relies on a basic regrouping and reshuffling of a corrupt regime in control of state resources will collapse in violence.
All Arab regimes, regardless of regime type, have essentially behaved like dynasties. This is why the essentially secular, expansive, inclusive, internationally-aware neo-nationalism of the young Arabs in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the region offers a revolutionary break from an unending past.
Maybe the US won’t change its course until the Arab world changes.
It is amazing how instantly possibilities present themselves when the people, en masse, demand their own interests and rules of the game.