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How to deal with a wounded lion? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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With the al-Assad regime yesterday announcing the death of its intelligence chief, who is the fourth person to have been killed by the explosion at the national security headquarters in Damascus, the magnitude of the blow that the regime of the tyrant received has become increasingly clear. This is why the regime has begun to deal with this incident in a diluted manner, apportioning the news to the Syrian people in order to mitigate the horror of this blow which it has yet to recover from.

This is increasingly evident as a result of the progress in the field being achieved by the Free Syrian Army [FSA], particularly its capture of border checkpoints along the Syrian – Iraqi and Syrian –Turkish borders, not to mention its control of some areas of Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere. Therefore it is clear today that al-Assad himself, as well as his regime, are experiencing a state of extreme bewilderment, and this is something that also applies to al-Assad’s allies. For despite Russia and China utilizing their veto for the third time at the UN Security Council, Russia’s envoy to Paris issued a statement saying that al-Assad is ready to stop down, but in a “civilized manner”. However he soon returned to correct this statement, despite the fact that the Russian ambassador did acknowledge that with the developments taking place on the ground in Syria, it would be difficult to imagine al-Assad surviving, not to mention the severe escalation in the pace of defections from al-Assad’s forces.

All of this demonstrates that al-Assad today is isolated at home and wounded, particularly as he has been subject to difficult and humiliating blows, not just in front of the international community and the Syrian people, but also in front of his small inner circle and in the eyes of his own forces. Indeed, al-Assad, just like Gaddafi, has seen the FSA tearing down and defacing his image, trampling on it with their feet, so the question that must be asked here is: how will the wounded al-Assad act now? Will he flee? Will he continue to remain silent? Or will he resort to even more insanity, carrying out even worse crimes against the Syrian people? Of course, anything is possible, but it would be a disastrous mistake to wait and see what al-Assad will do, particularly as the death toll in Syria is on the rise in an alarming manner as a result of the actions of al-Assad’s forces. Therefore, following the prompt failure of the UN Security Council as a result of Moscow and Beijing standing behind this criminal regime, what we must do today – as Mr. Walid Jumblatt said – is increase our support to the FSA to an unprecedented levels, in terms of arms, equipment and intelligence. This is in order to turn the last page on the era of the tyrant of Damascus.

It is clear today that al-Assad is reeling, and his ouster is inevitable, and may take place suddenly, however what is certain is that this will have been very costly for the Syrian people. This is something that we have been saying since the situation in Syria moved towards armed confrontation, which was due to the actions of the al-Assad regime, not the revolution, as some have claimed. Al-Assad is the one who went too far by utilizing the security solution, and he is responsible for the deaths of nearly 17,000 Syrians until today. Therefore, delaying the coup de grace against al-Assad will cost everybody; the Syrian people, neighboring states, and the region as a whole. Therefore we must increase our support for the FSA now, with regards to providing arms and intelligence, for the issue is not one of escalation, but rather turning the page on an evil and criminal regime whose time is up. This regime is already over, and delaying its elimination will only mean even more suffering and danger to everybody, without exception.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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