History and reality are not on Assads side

Ali Younes
Ali Younes
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The trajectory of Assad's past behavior as evident by this speech and by the actions of his armed troops on the ground clearly shows that he is doing everything he can in order to lose the war despite winning some battles

Ali Younes
A 2010 study by Washington-based Rand Corporation on armed insurgencies and Counter Insurgencies (COIN) showed that the vast majority of COIN operations ended up losing the conflict because of their failure to take several important measures that are critical in winning the war. Those measures include among others strategic communication, development, political reform, democracy, civic freedoms that will address the grievances of the insurgency and the population.

The study titled “Victory has a Thousand Fathers” researched 30 armed insurgencies from around the world such as Turkey, Afghanistan ,Iraq, Rwanda, Senegal Croatia and Burundi, showed that Insurgents won in 22 cases, while government COIN operations won in only 8 of them.

In the case of Turkey for example, which won its COIN war against the Kurdish Workers Party, (PKK) the win was made possible only because the Turkish government addressed the Kurdish populations demands to have their own political and cultural rights thus depriving the insurgency from its popular support. It also made deals with countries that supported the PKK insurgents. The Turkish government won the war also because it made economic development in Kurdish areas as part of its t strategy to win the war against the PKK.

Similarly, the US won its COIN war against the Sunni insurgents in Iraq because it addressed the Sunnis demands and incorporated them in the Iraqi political process.

Conversely, Iraq during Saddam's era lost its COIN operations against its own Kurds because it used repression and brutal military campaigns that ultimately failed to win its war against the Kurdish Insurgency. Iraq also failed to address the grievances of its Kurdish populations and did not seek a comprehensive political settlement for the conflict. At the end, these factors doomed not only the rule of the previous Iraqi regime but also Iraq itself.
The same is true in the case of Sudan which failed to crush its Southern insurgent movements and relied on military solutions only. Sudan ended up not only losing its war against its southern insurgents, but also lost half of its country.

Similarly, the Syrian regime is using repression and violence to crush the opposition and regularly using its heavy weapons against defenseless population. This strategy will at the end destroy the Assad regime no matter how much violence he uses against either the population or the armed opposition.

Assad’s lost battle

Taking into account those historic cases of armed conflicts between regimes and rebel groups it becomes quite clear that Assad is misinformed and ill-advised by the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians who are his only international allies.

Meanwhile, the trajectory of Assad's past behavior as evident by this speech and by the actions of his armed troops on the ground clearly shows that he is doing everything he can in order to lose the war despite winning some battles.

Assad is not showing any indication that he was interested in winning the population and offered no plans to have real democratic governance, and mentioned no plans to rebuild or address the devastation in Syrian cities.

Moreover, he is also losing the public relations and strategic communications very badly. Almost all of the regional and international media outlets project him and his regime as a blood thirsty dictator who massacred thousands of innocent civilians and millions more fled their homes to become refugees in neighboring countries. Adding to that is the fact that his regime, is besieged by international sanctions, while many countries withdrew its diplomatic recognition of its regime and was given instead to the opposition. For Assad, the end might not be imminent, but for sure history is not on his side.

(Ali Younes is a writer, and analyst and Al Arabiya's regular contributor. He is based in Washington D.C and can be reached at: [email protected], and @clearali)


Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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