Damascus without Basharand Cairos fears

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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What if the New Year elapses and we are disappointed with Bashar al-Assad holding to power as president?

Here we have nowhere to escape but apologize, quit writing, or pay the price of false reading. Although I was cautious not to determine particular dates of his fall, all the data confirm that the Assad’s regime will not last for long and the only predication that I am comfortable with is that he will fall by the end of this year. This is the same conclusion that I heard earlier from more knowledgeable people such as Samir Geagea, Lebanese Forces leader who predicated since a year and half ago, meaning since the opposition gave up peaceful demonstrations, that the regime will fall but that it would take about two years...and this prediction still holds.

Those occupied with the Syrian issue, including those managing the opposition or funding them, say that the regime is now worn-out and is staggering and it must collapse in January or February this year. It has lasted for long and not because of Assad’s valor or that of his forces, but because the great powers chose not to intervene as it did in the case of Libya for understandable reasons, including Israel’s security accounts, the fear of civil of war and jihadists that are now running amok in Libya and threatening Tunisia. Among the reasons as well is the character of President Obama who likes to avoid foreign military adventures. Then we should not forget that the Iranians and the Russians have thrown all their weights behind Assad in an unprecedented manner. Despite this and the conspiracies against the Syrian revolution what remains in the life of the Syrian regime is short. But the Syrians’ determination did not weaken in the face of barbaric shelling and massacres against the strategy of President Assad who wanted to silence his people with fear.

It will be a crucial year, without Assad. But our region will continue to witness dangerous repercussions of the 2011 revolutions. Egypt is still threatened with a year full of political and economic dangers if the Brotherhoods do not govern the country well and drop their project of hegemony, which they began to implement early on when they monopolized the process of drafting the constitution, destroyed the judiciary and excluded their revolutionary partners. It will not help them cooking up battles over the return of Egyptian Jews back to the country or exploiting Hamas to generate dust and create heroism.

The deterioration of the country’s Pound is the greatest threat to the Presidency of Mohammed Mursi, greater that Israel and the opposition. The year will not elapse in peace except if the Brotherhood accepts a genuine democratic system as the president vowed to respect. Without this, Egypt will enter into an economic zone of danger and political turmoil. We could see tanks back in Tahrir Square with another revolution and a new military council in power.

Iran is a puzzle difficult for us to resolve. After losing Syria and losing half of its revenues from oil sales as a result of Western sanctions, it could be obliged to agree to a truce and freeze its nuclear program. In this case it would be a bigger problem for the Gulf States with the Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki turning into a regime subject to Iranian influence.

(Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya. This article was first published in Asharq AlAwsat on Dec. 31, 2012)

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