Saturday, January 21, 2012

What is the final blow in Syria?

Amid tandem failed attempts of diplomatic overtures to end 10-month killings in Syria, it is now everyone’s question these days what to do next with Syria.

There is no Gaddafi-prepares-massacring-Benghazi type moment in Syria that could unleash some outrage among Western powers to reconsider options to end the violence and bloodshed in Syria. Recent reports indicate that the Arab League and Syria agreed to extend the mission of Arab monitors, whose presence have only bolstered and motivated protesters but didn’t spur Assad from refraining killing. This will help Assad buy more time.

But the clock is not ticking in favor of Assad. There is no need to expect a “moment” that will spark a reaction from neighboring or Western countries. There is also no need to consider what final blow could be that would bring down the Assad regime. Current spate of unceasing killings is already bringing the regime down. But maintaining this momentum is important.

In the case of Iran's nuclear standoff, the Western powers, particularly Israel, raise their voice that Iran is nearing to nuclear weapons capability and that either urgent diplomacy or a military strike needs to be undertaken to reset what Iran has started. But in the case of Syria, although it is sad and horrible to see that civilians are being killed daily, Assad is not coming to a point that will secure his seat. The idea of containment seems to be the best option in Syria.

No one in 1980s predicted that the colossal communism empire will collapse in 1989-91 and to be honest, George H. W. Bush must not take credit for such an outcome. The collapse of the Soviet Union was thanks to carefully conducted containment that at the end made the gigantic empire history. If China continued with its hardline position after Cultural Revolution or even historic Tiananmen massacre, its demise would also be inevitable. Recent glaring examples would be the fall of Gaddafi’s Tripoli in August last year and fall of Saddam’s Baghdad in 2003. No one was expecting that the seizure of these capitals would be that easy; as a matter of fact, it was not. The primary reason that made takeover of these cities seem easy was fighting that preceded the “final blow.”

It becomes hard for countries to stick to a certain position for a long time especially if the status-quo is not favorable in an ever-shifting milieu.

The same situation could be applied on Syria, too. The protests and unfortunately violence are now nearing to the second biggest city Aleppo and capital Damascus. It is more than clear that Assad will not be able to hold on to power for long and time is what I would call a “gradual final blow” to his dynasty.

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