“It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship.”
With no intention whatsoever to belittle other revolutions that took place in the region, the Syrian revolution is bound to be the purest and greatest of them all.
This is a revolution that is undoubtedly coming from the people. It is for the people’s future that it has erupted, and it is the people’s blood that nourishes it.
The Syrian revolution owes nothing to any external party and nobody has given it support. Syrian revolutionaries struck no clandestine deals and any existing deals have been, in fact, against and not in favor of the revolution.
For some foreign powers, this revolution is a conspiracy against their hegemony in the region while for others, it is an unwelcome nuisance that would better go away as soon as possible. The Syrian revolution is actually a threat to certain malignant alliances whose parties are desperate to protect their strategic interests.
All those factors have been detrimental to the Syrian revolution for they give the fascist regime against which it has erupted one chance after the other to crush the uprising.
Yesterday, an American journalist who claims to be objective explained in details the similarities and differences between the cases of Iraq and Syria, ending his explanation with mere wishes. This follows several self-proclaimed rational comparisons made between the Libya and Syria situations en route to justify this state of inaction towards the Syrian revolution. In the same vein, several international top officials, like NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stressed more than once that there will be no foreign intervention in Syria.
Nothing is more encouraging for the Syrian regime to commit more of its massacres and for Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran to have a free hand in crushing the revolution.
What is next?
There is one truth that even Moscow and Beijing are now unable to deny: Bashar al-Assad’s regime is no longer capable of ruling Syria.
Syria now is not like Syria before March 2011. The regime that kills its people loses legitimacy to rule no matter how it tries to lie to itself and to others. That is why despite all the powers that back it, the regime cannot retain actual control over all Syrian land. Even if it destroys one city here or occupies another there, its days are numbered, for countries cannot be ruled forever by occupation forces.
Another truth that is also admitted by supporters of the Syrian regime is that the Arab Spring revolutions pulled down the fear barrier. Syria was ruled by fear for more than half a century but now its people have realized that they are no longer afraid. They are also aware that they are dealing with a tyrannical power that knows no dialogue and is impossible to negotiate with. Therefore, for them there is no way back.
Now we arrive at the third truth: all the parties now opposing the revolution and attempting to put an end to it will at some point find themselves forced to deal with the repercussions of this revolution. They have proven beyond any doubt that they do not care about the suffering of the Syrian people and do not identify with their dreams. However, they would still have to defend their own interests the moment they feel they could be compromised.
Like many authentically objective analysts noted, the situation is Syria, regardless of what is happening in Aleppo, will create a state of imbalance that regional and international players will find impossible to overlook.
The regime made a big mistake when it used the issue of sectarian minorities as a bargaining chip, and that is because it will soon discover that it is a bargain far too dangerous for it to handle. Statements issued by Israeli officials expressing concern over Syria’s chemical weapons and the possibility of transferring them to Hezbollah is the worst indictment of a regime that claims its resists the Jewish state. Israel has for long been aware that the Syrian regime possesses chemical weapons and yet has never expressed any apprehensions because it knows very well that these weapons will not be used against it, and that all slogans about “resisting the Zionist enemy” are nothing but empty rhetoric. This brings to mind Damascus’s pledge to respond to Israeli raids on Ain al-Saheb camp and al-Kabar facility and the violation of Syrian airspace over Latakia “when the right time comes.”
The Israeli officials were expressing their unease about Syrian chemical weapons going to Hezbollah, while the Syrian regime was busy shelling the town of Jibbata al-Khashab in the Golan Heights, very close to the occupation line. It is worth noting that this little town is the birthplace of martyr Ahmed Muraywed (1886-1926), the leader of the Golan Revolution and one of the heroes of the Great Syrian Revolution.
As for northern Syria, the bargaining chip is much more complicated. After brutally attacking Arab and Turkmen towns and villages, and blackmailing Christian and Muslim confessional minorities, the regime is now waving the Kurdish card. This, again, is part of a plan the regime is currently executing with the help of Iran and some parties in Lebanon.
If it is true that the regime has managed to hand over control of Qamishli and other northern border towns to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), this would prove to be a flagrant provocation for Turkey and an incentive for Turkish forces to intervene in Syrian land. At this point, the complexities and contradictions inherent in the inter-Kurdish situation in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq would surface in a dangerous way.
As for the Shiite and Christian cards, the regime is not really capable of seeing this bear fruit. If those two groups change their stance, they will also change this state of inaction that regional and international players have chosen to adopt.
We are now witnessing the countdown to the end of a regime that from the very beginning made all the wrong choices. What many people do not realize is that a regime like this cannot take any other shape, and will never be able to change.
This is what it is. This is its very nature.
The writer is a columnist at Asharq al-Awsat where this article was first published on July 30