Exporting crises: Assad got it wrong!
As we have said before, a mass killer cannot transform into a messenger of peace. Equally important is the fact that deception through media cannot lead to or reinforce stability or national security.
Experts argue that effective foreign policy is a product of internal strength/hegemony. Therefore, trying to export crises indicates a kind of internal political failure that the regime cannot cope with unless it exercises the military option or a high-handed security approach. It is rather surprising that Syria is copying the Iranian policy that is based on perpetuating conflicts within the region and the world.
This enables the government to control and dominate the internal public opinion by pushing the society to live in the illusion that there is external conspiracy and threat. These pretexts reveal the internal decay.
While Iran controls Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, the Jerusalem Force controls Iraq and supports the PKK. The aim has always been to keep the region in tension. It is no longer a secret that Assad's father tried in a subtle way to modify the demographic balances in Lebanon. He helped a great number of Shiites and Alawites to enter Lebanon. Those people were granted citizenship and no Lebanese had the guts to say no. But when Syria’s position became weaker in Lebanon, many spoke about these secrets.
Christians in Lebanon fear this may lead to a civil war. Lebanese leaders who had the ability to reach agreements and take decisions did not view the issue from a sectarian perspective. In fact, Lebanese have the habit of forming coalitions that include members and politicians from across the sectarian divide. But there are fears that a Sunni-Shiite conflict can erupt due to Hezbollah's hegemony, its huge arsenal (kept under the pretext of resistance) and the Syrian-Iranian direct support.
The Syrian president should have realized that the only exit from the current crisis that has hit Syria is by realizing that the world has changed and that nations now want freedom and dignity. The Syrian people provided Assad a golden opportunity when the constitution was modified in one hour to suit the interests of the president.
Many Syrians thought that Assad would not be the same as his father and that he would take the opportunity to make internal changes in politics and carry out reforms.
They had hoped that he would strike at the old guard and put an end to corruption and cronyism. Yet, the president proved to be ineffective. He resorted to rhetoric without really doing anything. Syrians provided him a number of opportunities to allow him to resign gracefully but that did not work.
The Syrian regime in revenge resorted to crackdown showing no mercy. In fact there were people who had advised Assad that the safety and security of Syria and the regime rested on dealing with protests in Deraa with an iron hand.
They advised him to come up with a reformist speech and start working accordingly. Needless to say this never materialized. As we have said in previous analysis, when regimes fail to deliver or live up to the expectations of the people, they resort to the tactics of attributing the crisis to Zionists and American agents.
They also accuse people of not being aware of external conspiracy. These regimes carry out some blasts and explosions to create fear among the people and blame Al-Qaeda for those attacks.
Iran's problems stem from its internal issues. Neither the Gulf states nor other Arab states are responsible for its woes. The same applies to Syria. What happened in Tripoli indicates that there has been an attempt to create a new security situation. But it also highlights beyond doubt the regime's political and security bankruptcy. All these measures have failed to convince Syrians.
Moreover, time is not on the side of the regime and the army cannot face the society endlessly while continuing repression. The security cost of this approach is between $ 25 to 30 million a month. Added to this are the international sanctions and the economic recession that have begun to affect the economy.
On the other hand, Iran cannot keep its financial tap open to support the regime in Damascus. This is true despite the fact that Iran realizes that the downfall of Assad’s regime will negatively affect it and will help Iraqis restore the internal political imbalance. This is the reason we find Iran supporting Al-Maliki even though that leads to tensions among Iraqi political forces.
Both Tehran and Damascus are in an unenviable position. Iran has to offer some concessions with regard to uranium issues during the Baghdad meeting, although, it is misleading its people that their country forced the Americans and the Western countries to acknowledge Iran’s right to nuclear energy. On the other hand, Israel will not accept anything short of ending the Iranian nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Damascus is playing to gain time after the failure of Annan’s plan. In order to gain some time the Syrian regime triggered a crisis in Lebanon. But deep down, other allies of Assad know that his days are numbered. According to Israeli estimates, Assad's downfall is imminent.
Interestingly, as much as Iran and Russia want Assad to stay in power, they have started discussing post-Assad scenarios. In brief, the erosion of the Syrian regime has begun. The regime is uncertain about what lies ahead and is close to political suicide. The internal weakness of such regimes normally provides the opportunity to other forces within the country to stage a coup and thus help defuse the crisis.