Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Slide!

Signs continue to bode ill for the future of regional peace and stability. Indeed, it now seems more likely that the recent terrorist attack against the US embassy in Damascus has actually been real, not staged. But note that the Syrian authorities no longer link the attack to Jund al-Sham, the bogus group indirectly set up and “cleverly” manipulated by the Syrian military security apparatus over the last few years. Rather, the attack is now attributed to a new group of Syrian expatriates who have recently returned from Saudi Arabia, with the ideas of a certain unnamed Saudi cleric filling their heads.

The more one think about it then, the more the whole development seems like the case of the proverbial chicken coming home to roost, or an all too predictable case of “what goes around comes around.”

For long the Assads have blackmailed the Saudis, among other “Gulfies,” by threatening terror and mayhem, while relying on their well-known abilities, made legendary in the aftermath of Hama 82, to deal effectively with any potential payback or backlash at home. I dread to think that, seeing that the credentials of the new Assads in this regard have not been effectively established yet, despite the chain of assassinations in Lebanon and the continued crackdown against all opposition at home, there is a real chance that the Assads might yet be called to task for their adventurist behavior in the last couple of years through a new externally sponsored internal challenge (as has often been the case of course).

Indeed, and while many are predicting that Lebanon will be the scene for a renewed regional settling of score, Syria might just emerge as the more likely theater of operations in this regard, or, at least, an additional one (additional, that is, to both Lebanon and Iraq, if not Afghanistan as well. Through in Somalia and parts of the Sahel for good measure).

Seeing that none of the major players currently involved, especially Iran, the US, France, Israel and Syria, is likely to reverse its particular policies helping pave the way to this impending showdown, with all the external and internal implications of it, the only way that I can see to spare Syria from the looming mayhem is for the Assads to be taken out through an internal move, that is, to put it more precisely, a coup. This is probably what former VP Abdul Haleem Khaddam had in mind when he called upon the Syrian military to rebel against the Assads, using the commemoration of the October 73 “victory” as an occasion to do it.

I say, while it might be very tempting to shoot the messenger in this regard, it will do people well to heed the message itself. Otherwise, we are almost assured of disaster.

Admittedly though, the likelihood of anyone being even capable of heeding any such message at this stage is next to none. The weakest players on the scene are, nonetheless, strong enough internally to survive an immediate challenge. Or so it seems. Good for them, bad for Syria.

For if we are to avert the impending disaster, someone gotta give: if not the Assads, who? And if not now, when?


On a completely unrelated note, I would like to thank Yaman Salahi for reminding me that I am actually an author, and not a political analyst.