Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Cautionary Note!

Despite its sensationalist nature, we really should not read too much into Khaddam’s recent "act of apostasy." His was a strong jab for his age, but it will not be a knockout blow by a long shot.

Indeed, the regime does not seem to completely unprepared for this move, as some analysts are suggesting, it is just that there strategy cannot be include an element of self-incrimination. They have to denounce Khaddam’s corruption, and soon others a well. But they will attempt to sue this momentum for the planned and long-expected launch of a Bashar-led “Corrective Movement” against the last vestiges of the Old Guard, as I have argued in my comment below.

Indeed, many people in the internal opposition, well, the incompetent and greedy bastards to be specific, will be banking on that. The old line that Bashar had his hands tied by the Old Guard will be reiterated at this stage to buy him more time.

But this is not such a bad development really, for by this Bashar will have committed himself to a serious reform program and he will have heightened up popular expectations in this regard. The more savvy members of the internal opposition should up the ante at this stage by demanding more and more and opening more and more corruption files, especially those that could implicate the New Guard as well, including the President’s own cousin. This, and the fact that the President leading cadre of reformers will never be allowed to deliver on realistic reforms, just like before, means that crackdowns and failure will be forthcoming within a few short months. This time the popular disappointment will be too hard to handle.

So, on the short run, those who will read too much into Khaddam’s defection will be disappointed. On the longer run, however, those who will read too much into the regime's new and hyped reform efforts will be more than just disappointed, they will be betrayed, again.