Whichever way the situation flows in Syria, blood is going to be soilt in the streets, with an authorataian remaining, or assuming power. The various groups aligned against Assad consist of the Syrian National Council, of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood type, and hardcore Marxists. So it’s a “take your pick of totalitarians” choice. The game changer for me is determining which of the two is the least of both evil’s, and it looks like the Muslim Brotherhood types are on the move and set to gain from the toppling of Assad’s regime. KGS
Arab World: Syria in the balance
By JONATHAN SPYER
Position of int’l community and in particular that of Turkey will be crucial in deciding outcome of Syria conflict.
A civil war is now under way in Syria. It is a contest in which the two sides are vastly mismatched.
Without increased international pressure and possibly intervention, the bloodletting looks set to continue for a long time ahead. The divided Syrian opposition, meanwhile, remains unable to articulate a coherent strategy for removing dictatorial President Bashar Assad from power. The stance of external powers is now the decisive factor.
Despite an ongoing hemorrhage of desertions, the Assad regime maintains overall control of the 220,000-strong Syrian Arab Army. The Alawi 4th Armored Division and Republican Guard still constitute fearsome tools of repression. In addition, Assad possesses four powerful security agencies, as well as the amorphous and brutal gathering of irregular Alawi gunmen known as the Shabiha.
In the face of this formidable killing machine, the Syrian opposition continues to find it impossible to unite.
Personal ambitions and rivalries are a major element of this, but substantive divisions also exist. The main opposition factions are particularly divided on the question of foreign intervention. The Turkish-influenced and Islamist-heavy Syrian National Council has a vague and non-committal policy on this matter, in line with the ambiguous position of Turkey itself and of the Gulf Arab states. The smaller, Leftist-dominated National Coordination Committee, meanwhile, is staunchly opposed to any external interference.
But for all the divisions, a more fundamental absence remains common to the opposition groups. This is the lack of a coherent policy for the attainment of power.