Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Assad’s predicament in the wake of war on Gaza

Ironically, Gaza has inadvertently laid a trap for those who clandestinely invested in its struggles. Despite the Assad regime posing as one of Gaza’s supporters, it has played a significant role in contributing to the current devastating siege. The duplicitous regime, adept at Machiavellian tactics and exploiting contradictions, finds itself ensnared by Gaza alongside its Iranian ally. This was based on desperate miscalculations, anticipating that events on October 7 would incur a human cost that would compel Israel to agree to new negotiation terms, providing relief to the beleaguered Assad regime which has been floundering under international sanctions.

“The Assad regime’s role as a patron of minorities and a combatant against Sunni jihadism has been compromised by its involvement in creating a more advanced and violent model in Gaza”

After a series of strategic failures in utilizing crime and arrogance to pursue the motto “rule it or destroy it” in Syria, the Assad regime, left with little recourse, is now compelled to make concessions in various directions in hopes of securing a renewal of its service contract. However, its violations of public rights and freedoms are now well-known internationally and the end of its service role will necessitate transformation.

The Assad regime, known for its lack of ideological stereotypes, has always been ready to pivot on a dime if it perceives an existential threat to its rule. But the recent events in Gaza may finally force it to recognize the erosion of its regional and internal influence, rendering the neutrality of the Golan irrelevant. The Assad regime’s role as a patron of minorities and a combatant against Sunni jihadism has been compromised by its involvement in creating a more advanced and violent model in Gaza.

“The Assad regime has been anticipating a deal on the horizon, but now finds the ceiling for foreign concessions consumed like burned paper”

The regime’s plight will worsen as the Iranian regime weakens, becoming paralyzed and eventually ending its role. This has led to the regime’s retreat, suffocated by ongoing internal revolution, relentless economic and popular pressures, and foreign forces challenging its sovereignty. The Assad regime has been anticipating a deal on the horizon, but now finds the ceiling for foreign concessions consumed like burned paper. And while accustomed to bargaining externally, the regime has never done so with the Syrian people.

Recent events in the region are now forcing the regime, for the first time in its history, to consider concessions due to its limited options. In the past, it has considered adopting confusing circumstantial solutions, i.e. issuing decrees protecting Iranian demographic occupation and later rescinding them. It rushed to China looking for help and returned empty-handed. Its approach to the Gulf countries only resulted in media headlines and blocked horizons. The Gaza operation was expected to create a position of greater negotiating equality, only for this expectation to be reversed.

“the tyrannical regime may reach the point of amending the local administration law and approving autonomy for a number of Syrian regions in order to complete the division and secure what it once called ‘useful Syria'”

In light of this collapse, the tyrannical regime may reach the point of amending the local administration law and approving autonomy for a number of Syrian regions in order to complete the division and secure what it once called “useful Syria.” Recently Assad issued a new law for the Student Union that removes the Baath Party’s hand from it and ends the Union’s interference in education and its institutions, as well as its work as an intelligence auxiliary. This comes in light of the restructuring of its intelligence services and the quiet exclusion of senior ranks that should be removed from the scene because of certain legal burdens.

“Assad may accept the division of Syria, but not the return of Syrians as partners in determining their fate”

In conclusion, the regime’s changes will only result in a more dilapidated state and a terrified ruling family that is willing to make serious major concessions just to remain in power. The Syrian revolution must counter this Machiavellianism with pragmatic strategies. Gaza should not pass without reaping some benefits for Syrians. It is a historical responsibility for a national liberation movement to activate at crucial turning points. Preparing for every scenario is a duty; Assad may accept the division of Syria, but not the return of Syrians as partners in determining their fate. The Syrian people must present a proactive approach, preventing the regime from making deals involving strategic weakness at the expense of the nation’s future. This requires readiness for all paths, even the most unexpected ones.

Yahya Alaridi
Yahya Alaridi
PhD in Media and Linguistics, George Town University, USA; Former Dean of the College of Media, Damascus University; Former Director of Channel Two (broadcasting in English), Syrian TV.

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