Some months ago I came across a report that Israeli intelligence officers were predicting Assad’s demise ‘in weeks’ not months or years. Supposedly the military was bleeding conscripts and officers to the opposition, enough so to tip the balance in their favor. It doesn’t look like that’s to be the case, Barry Rubin explains why.
NOTE: With his back literally against the wall, and thought of a bullet headed for his chest from a firing squad, Assad is not going to go down easily.
Why Syria’s Regime is Surviving a Revolution
By Barry Rubin
Despite what is now the longest-running revolution in Middle Eastern history, the Syrian regime will probably be in power on December 31, 2012. I don’t say that because it’s what I want to happen—Syria’s revolution is more democratic-minded than those in Libya or Egypt; the government is far more repressive than the former dictatorships in Tunisia or Egypt—but because it seems inevitable.
Why is it that after so many months of massive demonstrations and really bloody repression, that President Bashar al-Assad seems likely to survive? Of course no one knows what will happen but there are three reasons to think that Assad’s regime is surviving, though the cost of that is a great deal of suffering and the wrecking of the country.
First, the rulers know that it is a case of kill or be killed. Given the hated and sectarian nature of the regime—overwhelmingly dominated by Alawites who comprise only about 12 percent of the population—the elite can expect no mercy if it falls. At least, the Alawite elite and its closest allies among the Sunni Arab Muslims will lose their wealth and power; at most, they and even their families will lose their lives.