Assad’s downfall is imminent
He governs less than a third of the country, and has a small army and security apparatus. More than 12 million Syrians have been displaced, while five million have fled the country. There is nothing left of the elements of a state. Assad stays among tombs, as he confronts thousands of rebels. On the practical level, as a ruler he exists only in the statements of his allies.
In addition, it is untrue that Russian intervention in Syria has granted Assad a chance to stay. The Russians are all he has left. He has unsuccessfully used his security forces and thugs.
He then resorted to the Lebanese party Hezbollah, which has extensive experience in militia warfare. That also failed. Then the Iranians came to his aid but failed. Assad also resorted to Iraqi and Afghani militias, without achieving progress on the ground.
Russia then got involved with its air force and missiles, but the result has been no better. This week, Russian operations focused on Latakia, which until recently was a safe zone for Assad. He is not worth the price being paid by his allies and the Syrian people, and contrary to what he and his supporters think, there is no hope of him staying.
Even the Iranians, who are the most keen to keep Assad in power, are aware of the impossibility of him staying. However, they want to control the course of negotiations and decide the fate of future governance in Syria. They want to assign another Assad, a leader who will follow their orders so they can dominate a strategic geographic area from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, and besiege the Gulf.
The Russian stance developed following the visit of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as Moscow began to talk about negotiating to establish a transitional phase. It is expected that there will be disputes over many details, such as the composition of the transitional government, the roles of the military and security institutions, and when Assad will depart.
It is impossible for him to resume as a legitimate president. The Syrian cause has not been sold, and it is not fit to be sold.
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