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The Syrian regime: A sitting duck - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Did it ever cross the mind of the Syrian regime when it was at the peak of its power (prior to the assassination of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri) that it will find itself one day on the run on the international level and besieged on the internal level, as it is today? Misfortunes from every side are pummeling this regime in a way that nobody could have imagined.

The Syrian regime is being dealt one blow after another. As soon as one ends, it is beset by another. The most serious blow is the latest: The fate of this regime is under threat on the international level. The Security Council will begin debating the regime’s legitimacy as it drafts a resolution condemning its practices against its own people and denouncing the murders it is committing against peaceful protesters. This blow was preceded by another direct one when the European Union approved a number of sanctions against it in the wake of the report of the European human rights organization. These sanctions were accompanied by others in which President Bashar al-Assad was mentioned by name. The European group placed his name on the list of those banned from travel and froze his assets. It will be dealt another blow this summer when the international tribunal declares the charges against the killers of Prime Minister Al-Hariri. This criminal case has exhausted the Damascus regime over the past three years as it tries to obstruct it. Moreover, the International Criminal Court [ICC] – better known by the name of its star prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocambo, who has become famous in cases against leaders like Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – has begun hearing the charges against the Syrian regime. Another almost forgotten blow will come from the IAEA that will file its report against the Syrian regime for violations of building a nuclear reactor that was bombed by Israel.

The Syrian regime is like a sitting duck easy to shoot. If it is saved from Security Council sanctions for the crime of killing the Syrian people – by virtue of the expected Russian veto – it may not be able to escape the report of international tribunal investigating Al-Hariri’s assassination. Even if the protracted prosecution and the slowness of court proceedings save it, Ocambo’s report on crimes of genocide will be ready. If the Syrian regime escapers from this charge as well, it will have to face sanctions related to the nuclear issue. If it escapes from all these blows, it will have to face the growing internal Syrian revolt that it has failed to quell and distort by accusing armed men and Salafists. This revolt in scores of towns and that has been raging for more than three months has turned into the biggest Arab revolt in contemporary history. Where are the friends of this regime? Its attempts to seek the help of Hezbollah, Iran, and Ahmad Jibril’s group have raised the hatred and anger of the populace against it. Moreover, the Iranian regime is ailing like it and cannot go to excesses in rescuing it except with more arms. Like Iran, Hezbollah’s contributions are futile as it faces a nation of 25 million people. Hezbollah – that has thrived on political propaganda over the past 10 years – cannot brag about or openly proclaim that it is confronting the Syrian people except by organizing a few processions in the Al-Dahiyah al-Junubiyah [Hezbollah stronghold] of Beirut that embarrass the Shias as they see demonstrations against their neighbors.

The regime in Syria is yet to understand that it is suffering from fast-spreading from of cancer . Despite all its failed violent efforts, it does not yet realize that it cannot rely on security forces and the antiquated use of the media. It has to reconcile with its people. This is its only solution.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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