Syria out of chicken?

Most companies closed down in Syria after the fire of the revolution reached the Damascus suburbs and chaos spread in big cities like Aleppo. Shutting down fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken’s last remaining branch there is further proof that the situation is deteriorating as there's no money, no funding and no consumers.

The Damascus Airport is only working at one fourth of its capacity. Trucks carrying goods for restaurants like KFC are no longer spotted on the roads. Almost all basic land border crossings are controlled by rebels, except for Lebanon's gate, the al-Masnaa' border crossing. The Turks began building a wall with Syria out of fear of regime affiliates and terrorists from the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Assad regaining control?

The Damascus Airport is only working at one fourth of its capacity. Trucks carrying goods for restaurants like KFC are no longer spotted on the roads.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The regime hasn't tired yet, and it continues to fiercely fight to regain some strategic border crossings, like Iraq’s, in order to bring in weapons and gas as the Iraqi regime is still its biggest funder. Battles are ongoing as well far away from the borders in order to regain the suburbs and neighborhoods near the Damascus Airport as losing these neighborhoods during the past few months led to the opposition besieging the strategic road and blocking it. It's no longer easy for residents to go from one neighborhood to another inside Damascus itself. There's no life in areas controlled by the regime so all restaurants and companies shut down.

This is Syria's situation today and Those who want to negotiate with Bashar al-Assad's government must know how the situation is on the ground and how the government has become merely a virtual mailing address. This of course does not mean that there's an alternative regime to replace it. The rcountry is in a state of political and administrative semi-vacuum. So how can some think that a conference like the Geneva conference can impose decisions on a country without administrative and operational mechanisms?

If the opposition wasn't divided into dozens of unlinked battalions, it would have been in control of a big part of the land it managed to seize. But the opposition is merely fighter militias taking over check points and posts or sometimes seizing entire cities. And even in the latter case, it does not have the capabilities to defend these cities or the capabilities to manage them. Syrian regime forces withdrew from some areas, leaving them for al-Qaeda in order to punish these areas' residents and show other rebellious areas that they will fall in the hands of the extremists. The regime is thus telling the people: Either the Assad forces or the extremist al-Qaeda forces.

This is what makes us talk about basic facts. The regime's capability to recover, survive and once again manage the country is no longer possible whether there's an alternative or whether the vacuum remains. What the Assad regime can resume doing is fighting the war, as it is spending its savings and men on it. It's also receiving aid from parties which support it in hopes there will be a political solution that may save it later. It's difficult to answer the question of how can a political solution restore the regime since the latter possesses nothing anymore to run the state. All what's left is destroyed cities and spirits full of vengeful aspirations.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Nov. 10, 2013.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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