[Marxism] Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 5 09:07:11 MST 2012

Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime

by Peter Harling , Sarah Birke

Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)

published February 24, 2012

 clip -

Syrians are approaching the one-year anniversary of what has

become the most tragic, far-reaching and uncertain episode

of the Arab uprisings. Since protesters first took to the

streets in towns and villages across the country in March

2011, they have paid an exorbitant price in a domestic

crisis that has become intertwined with a strategic struggle

over the future of Syria.

The regime of Bashar al-Asad has fought its citizens in an

unsuccessful attempt to put down any serious challenge to

its four-decade rule, leaving several thousand dead. Many

more languish in jail. The regime has polarized the

population, rallying its supporters by decrying the

protesters as saboteurs, Islamists and part of a foreign

conspiracy. In order to shore up its own ranks, it has

played on the fears of the `Alawi minority from which the

ruling family hails, lending the conflict sectarian

overtones. All these measures have pushed a growing number

of young men on the street -- and a small but steady stream

of army defectors -- to put up an armed response, while

impelling large sections of the opposition to seek

financial, political and military help from abroad. Loyalist

units have taken considerable casualties from the armed

rebels, and the regime has hit back with disproportionate


Events have aided the regime in its attempt to dismiss the

protest movement and further tip the balance from nominal

reform to escalating repression, fueling a vicious cycle

that has turned sporadic clashes into a nascent civil war.

In a sense, the regime may already have won: By pushing

frustrated protesters to take up arms and the international

community to offer them support, it is succeeding in

disfiguring what it saw as the greatest threat to its rule,

namely the grassroots and mostly peaceful protest movement

that demanded profound change. In another sense, the regime

may already have lost: By treating too broad a cross-section

of the Syrian people as the enemy, and giving foreign

adversaries justification to act, it seems to have forged

against itself a coalition too big to defeat. At a minimum,

Bashar al-Asad has reversed his father's legacy: Through

tenacious diplomacy over three decades (from his takeover in

1970 to his death in 2000), Hafiz al-Asad made Syria,

formerly a prize in the regional strategic game, a player in

its own right. In less than a year, Bashar's obduracy will

have done the opposite, turning actor into arena.

full -


More information about the Marxism mailing list