The real threat to Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not Security Council resolutions, Arab League decisions, the West’s boycott, the Arab media or the retreat of China and Russia. The real threat that makes President Bashar al-Assad these days seem pale faced, hollow eyed and absent minded is the brave spirit of the Syrian people and their heroic revolution. Some were gambling on this revolution running out of fuel or energy, believing that its grip was bound to loosen, a logical assumption if we take into account the dictatorial regime and its bloody, brutal practices, but the Syrian people have gone against all expectations.
If the line on the graph of the Syrian revolution had dropped then this would have been a natural outcome; human energy is limited and the regime’s attempts to suppress the revolution have been extremely ferocious. If the line had continued on the same level this would have been a major achievement in light of the aforementioned information, but the fact that the trajectory of the line remains on the rise is striking. Over the past week, demonstrations have erupted across Syrian territory in record numbers, 800 demonstrations paying no attention to the brutal massacres and assassinations, the horror stories that are leaked about the torture of detainees, or the barbaric footage that has reached the global media.
The latest footage to emerge was found by the revolutionaries on a soldier’s mobile phone they had obtained. The video clip depicts a number of demonstrators lying on the ground on their stomachs, and then a soldier begins to walk over them with his heavy military boots, stepping on their faces and necks and kicking each one in the face as if he was leading a well-known military salute!
Yet despite all this the Syrian citizens are matching every horrific act by the regime not only with demonstrations and marches, but also with songs and chants, as if they were attending a wedding rather than living in a world of terror, oppression and bloodshed!
The most striking scene in the Syrian revolution is that the revolutionary graph’s rising trajectory has not been affected by the decline in Arab, Islamic and international interest. Arab stances are still not at the desired level, and the stances of Western countries, led by America, are marred by extreme caution, because of the sectarian and regional intricacies of the Syrian regime. Such a weak mentality casts shadows over their regional stances, not to mention the West’s eye on Israel, which is certainly not waiting for a better alternative to the Syrian regime to guard its northern gateway. Thus, it is impossible for the Western countries to take a tough stance and finish off the Bashar al-Assad regime without an Israeli green light. As for the Turkish position, which is what many Syrians are relying upon, it has been somewhat exposed. Do you remember the famous Turkish “two weeks” remarks, in which Turkish officials threatened the Syrian regime, saying that it had two weeks to stop killing people? All this eventually turned out to be an illusion. Even the determined Saudi stance urging the need to arm the Syrian people as a minimum means to defend themselves was met with a lukewarm response globally, and a severe rebuttal from some Arab countries.
In spite of these international, Islamic and Arab stances wary of being drawn into a confrontation with the Syrian regime, the revolution’s upward trajectory has continued, crowned by last week’s demonstrations and movements in regions and provinces that the regime had believed to be isolated from the uprising. Here we are able to say in summary of the Syrian revolution, after more than a year: These people show remarkable courage, fighting spirit and by the grace of God they will not be defeated. The al-Assad regime is actually on the brink of death, not necessarily a sudden death, but rather a slow one.
The writer is a prominent columnist. The article was published in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat on May 22, 2012