Thursday, June 16, 2011

A US "Damascus-based diplomat" speaks on the Syrian disturbances

Reuters has gotten a description of American efforts to overthrow the Assad regime.
"Despite everything they have done over the past few weeks -- killing, torture, mass arrests and raids -- the protests are continuing," said one Western diplomat. "This regime will fight to the death, but the only strategy they have is to kill people, and this is accelerating the crisis."

In its attempt to stamp out protests across the country of 23 million, the government has withdrawn most security forces from the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, diplomats say.

Yet each time the authorities go in hard to deal with one center of rebellion, other towns rise up.

Reliant on two elite units commanded by his brother Maher -- the 4th Armored Division and the Republican Guard -- as well as secret police and militia from his minority Alawite sect, President Assad is plainly overstretched.

"Our assessment is that the regime will fall," predicted the Damascus-based diplomat. "They have three to six months of actual military capabilities to sustain this, but they cannot keep a prolonged operation going indefinitely."


The international community, diplomats said, see a post-Assad era ideally facilitated by a military coup and several governments are encouraging Syrian generals to mutiny.

"We are isolating him and his family. We're addressing military leaders and cabinet members to rise up. We're encouraging the generals to rise up," the diplomat said.

"The key variable is the continuation of the momentum (of the revolt). We really believe there is no point of return."

My impression of the disturbances in Syria is that it is a program designed and planned by US personnel for the sake of Israel - one of whom is very possibly the anonymous diplomat of this report - and funded by the US colony of Saudi Arabia. The "several governments encouraging Syrian generals to mutiny" are certainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and other members of the US/Zionist colonial structure.

The US diplomatic corp is very loyal to Israel, but not very talented, and playing a very weak hand in the Middle East where the fundamental reality is that everybody in the region disagrees with their agenda.

The plan outlined by the diplomat - to keep Assad engaged in low intensity fighting for three to six months by which point Syria will supposedly run out of bullets (while hoping the Saudis will continue to be able to supply the opposition beyond that point) at which time currently less-well armed disloyal units of the Syrian army will be willing, due to foreign inducements, and able to defeat now better-equipped loyal units of the army - is nonsense, but we're not going to be able to see how stupid it was until six months have passed.

It is true that, unlike three or four years from now by which time Iraq will have expelled the US and will provide Iran with a secure ground path to Syria and through Syria to Lebanon, today there is at least a theoretical ability to prevent overt arms shipments from Iran from arriving. On the other hand, Syria has resources and the ability to use smuggling at least as effectively as the Saudis. Syria still has the home-field advantage in arms, not only in present stockpiles but in future acquisitions.

Is the opposition capable of building large stockpiles of arms in Syria without the Syrian government finding out? That is pretty difficult to do, but once Syria finds them, they become Syrian.

Most likely six months from now we'll find Syria still with a tremendous arms advantage over the opposition, no Syrian generals willing to fight losing battles against the loyal sections of the Syrian army, Saudi Arabia realizing this stupid plan the Americans asked them to finance didn't work and thousands of Syrians dead in this failed operation.

Like Libya though, we keep hearing this word "protests". Syria is supposedly putting down "protesters". Where are these "protests"? In tiny border towns, but not in Damascus are there supposedly sit ins in the parks and central squares? But no pictures? Think of a small town on the periphery of your country. Does a non-violent protest there even make sense?

Pictures are not substantially more difficult to distribute than oral reports. If you can give a reporter a face to face interview, you can show that reporter images that can be copied. If you can establish a communications link over distance to a reporter, you can transmit images over the same link.

If there are no pictures, then how do the reporters know they are protests? It is true that organized opposition to the regime is taking place and the US diplomat seems to refer to any opposition - armed or unarmed, violent or non-violent - as "protests", but most likely the "protests" are taking the form of armed attempts to clear an area of Syrian forces so that area could be used as Benghazi is in Libya.

The fact that western reporters cannot tell the difference between peaceful protest and armed rebellion is notable but not important on the ground in Syria.

Six months from now a Saudi agent, acting under American/Zionist instructions, will approach a Syrian gang, police unit or army unit and offer money to kill Syrian forces to force them out of the town. The leader of the Syrian group will say, "Umm, no. That is very very unlikely to result in clearing the town of Syrian forces and more likely to result in my death."

At that point the disturbances will be over.

A real popular Tahrir Square-style opposition is likely to form in Syria over the next ten years - based in Damascus, not funded by Saudi Arabia or planned by Washington and much more difficult to put down - unless Assad either cedes power by then or wins a contested election. But over the very short term, for the next 12 months, Assad is likely secure in power.


Lysander said...

While I can agree that Assad probably has more and stronger support than, Mubarak for example, I do not believe it is anything like a majority support. At the very least, Bashar, and his father before him never consented to an open election to prove it.

Therefore, I do believe there is a lot of genuine opposition to the Assad government. Without a contested election, we can only guess at the numbers. Notice that the level of violence far exceeds anything used during the Iran election protests in 2009.

That said, there is no reason to think that the US/Israel and SA would refrain from interfering in the uprising and trying to pick from among the protesters the ones more suitable to them. Barring that, then they may very well like to see Syria broken up into several parts. Turkey's suggestion that it may enter Syria to create a buffer zone for refuges can only mean either they are on board with such a plan, or sincerely believe that the Assad regime is behaving beyond the pale. I do not know which.

Interestingly, the Assad regime gets little sympathy from the Arab world at large, including those who are implacable opponents of Zionism.

My best guess is that initial protests were peaceful and then a combination of government repression and outside interference has since caused it to become violent.

It is dificult to predict the outcome. But my guess is that if Assad has the strong support of 35% of the public, he can ride this out, even if the other 65% oppose him. Mubarak had the support of 13% according to post revolution polls and that was very soft support. Meaning they viewed his fall as a regrettable but hardly catastrophic event.

If Assad has the support of most Alliwites, Christians and Druze, then he likely has 30% right there. There is likely a portion of the Sunni population that also supports him so 35% or maybe 40 or 45% is plausible.

But again, without an election, we cannot know.

Arnold Evans said...

Turkish troops on Syrian soil without Assad's permission? I really really hope not, but I don't think so. I'll believe it if I see it.

It could go very badly for Turkey, Turkey in that case would be an occupying force, subject to the same tactics Hezbollah used in Lebanon, with no hope of reaching Damascus or desire to reach Damascus.

Syria is not Tahrir Square or Manama that descended into violence. I don't think there ever were actual large-scale peaceful demonstrations in Syria.

Syria from the start was small demonstrations that didn't show anything like the societal consensus present in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain followed immediately by what by all appearances are outside directed military activities.

It is only because they happened in 2011 instead of 2010 that anyone has any thought that it might be a popular movement.

Anyway, the US is leaning on Turkey with its maximum force, as are the US colonies, especially Saudi Arabia. So far the pressure has not yielded a tangible result, just talk. I hope it stays that way. We'll see how Erdogan balances things.

What Erdogan will know not to do is put Assad into a situation where he has nothing to lose, because Turkey could really be harmed by a conflict with Syria - especially if Assad sees it as the only way to remain in power.

Syria does need elections, I still think it can make it to the end of this crisis without elections. But this is not primarily an internal crisis. Bahrain and Yemen are internal crises with much less popular governments with much weaker security forces and are under less pressure because Syria's opposition has vastly deeper outside support.

Western diplomats are here saying they are trying to pressure Syrian generals to defect.

I see this as very little of a conflict between the people of Syria and Assad, if this was 2010, I don't think anyone would see it that way, just there is a tempting but false comparison to Egypt and Tunisia.