Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The cost of the fall of al-Assad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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There are many expectations that the al-Assad regime is about to collapse, and that it is only a matter of time…expectations repeated by politicians on several levels, which have received the support of many of the Syrian people involved in the situation, but not the analysts who rejoiced at the revolutions in their own countries but denounced the Syrian revolution. However the question that must be asked here is: what is the cost of the fall of al-Assad?

The press report that was published by our newspaper yesterday, in cooperation with the British newspaper “The Guardian”, addressed this question, conveying a number of viewpoints attributed to different personalities inside Syria, including Alawites, reflecting the almost unanimous conviction that it will be difficult for the al-Assad regime to continue, but everyone fears the price of its downfall. This is compounded by the al-Assad regime’s current state of weakness, with the Muslim Brotherhood recently rejecting an Iranian offer to grant the Brotherhood representation in government on the condition that al-Assad remains in power! Why would al-Assad do that if he was in a position of strength, especially as he described the Muslim Brotherhood in his latest speech as the “Devil’s Brotherhood”?

Hence, concerns over the potential costs of the fall of al-Assad must be reflected at the regional and international levels. Delaying the fall of al-Assad will entail subsequent security and economic complications, not only for Syria, but for the region as a whole. Of course, in the event of al-Assad remaining in power, the price will also be high for the Syrians and the region, specifically Turkey, as at this point al-Assad would be far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein following the liberation of Kuwait.

Therefore, simply expecting, or waiting for the al-Assad regime to collapse on its own, without any significant effort to accelerate this process from our regional states and the international community, means that the interests and stability of the region and world at large is being put at risk. This is not to mention the dangers that threaten Syria itself, and also the complications of the post al-Assad phase. Waiting for the “expected” moment of collapse is dangerous, and costly, for everyone.

The true cost of delaying the fall of al-Assad is that the Syrian crisis will deepen, and a civil war will be fuelled. As one Western diplomat said in “The Guardian”: “if you shoot at people for months, you shouldn’t be surprised when they start shooting back”, and this is what is happening in Syria today.

Prolonging the life of the al-Assad regime also means further complicating the solutions for the post al-Assad phase, and it is inevitable that those who will pay the highest price will be the Turks, not the Iraqis. The Baghdad regime, for example, has concerns regarding the Syrian revolution because it could awaken the Sunni giant, particularly as the Iraqi regime is a sectarian system par excellence. Whilst the Turks are concerned about the future of Syria following the revolution, out of fear for their commercial interests and security. Ankara is not a sectarian regime, it is a democracy, and the survival of the ruling elite there depends on providing economic accomplishments to the Turkish people, rather than sectarian promises cloaked in deceptive slogans such as “resistance” and so on, along the lines of what is repeated by the al-Assad regime and Iran’s allies in the region.

Hence, it is dangerous to merely wait for the fall of the al-Assad regime without doing anything to accelerate this process. This is what those concerned with the stability of our region must be aware of, whether we are talking about the Saudis or the Turks, or even the Europeans and the Americans.