Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Tale of Mayhem Foretold II!

Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, my dear colleague and good friend and one of the main figures behind the Damascus Declaration and the more recent Damascus-Beirut Declaration has recently been slapped with a travel ban on account of his continuous involvement in civil society activities around the region and the world.

Indeed, and over the lat two months alone, Radwan came to the US twice to take part in various meetings and seminars. He also gave a few of lectures in Washington D.C., Chicago, and elsewhere.

The move comes as part of the Assads regime’s ongoing crackdown against activists and opposition figures in the country, a development destined to witness further escalations in the days and weeks ahead, as the regime continues its reversion to old-style totalitarian rule.

Indeed, and in a related development, and far from the spotlight, thousands of non-Baathist employees in public enterprises and institutions, their apolitical tendencies notwithstanding, are reportedly being laid off or being reassigned to marginal positions, so that these institutions remain under Baathist control, in an attempt to reinstitute the old patronage system and bolster regime support across the board.

If this tendency should continue over the next few weeks, there will soon be much fresh popular anger and resentments to tap into. In true Saddamite fashion, and in the process of bunkering down, the Assads are cutting themselves off completely from the Street and from any nonsectarian grassroots support. From a tactical perspective, this might be good news for the opposition, but it is also a bad omen for the future stability of the country. For the removal of the Assads, whenever the time for that comes, will not be a bloodless affair.