Friday, August 26, 2011

Bashar al-Assad's fall is inevitable

Syrians will not stop protesting until the regime is gone. They don't need military intervention

Salwa Ismail

The Guardian, Friday 26 August 2011

"The dramatic developments in Libya are raising comparisons with the uprising in Syria. In particular, some are asking what the role of the international community should be. Inside Syria itself, though, there has been no call for external military intervention – the people are opposed to any foreign meddling. This position is tenable because several interlinked factors – "objective" and "subjective" – make the fall of Bashar al-Assad's regime inevitable.

First, the objective factors. The uprising has entered a new phase, with the opposition and protest movement widening to include professional groups such as lawyers and doctors. This adds a new dynamic to confrontations with the regime. Doctors have organised themselves into co-ordinating committees to provide medical aid and treatment to protesters. Their logistical and humanitarian support for the injured brought to hospitals or makeshift clinics has made them targets for systematic attack and arrest....

Although these objective conditions are undermining the regime's social base, subjective factors will determine its future. These have to do with Syrians' feelings towards the regime. By publicly expressing their contempt, anger and disdain for the regime and Assad personally, Syrians are self-compelled to persist in their protest until they are rid of both.....

The public performances of the uprising have broken the people's forced silence. Their rallying cry of "Yalla Irhal Ya Bashar" ("Depart, oh Bashar") and the epithets they have attached to the president's name ("murderer", "shedder of blood") illustrate their disdain and disrespect for his person. The cumulative effect of thousands of daily public expressions of derision towards Assad binds Syrians irrevocably to the goal of removing him.....

....a number of possible scenarios emerge, all leading to Assad's inevitable downfall: increased defections in the army leading to military infighting that could spill over into civil strife; external military intervention with similar consequences; or steadfastness from Syrians in their peaceful struggle, sustained by the expansion of their movement and driven by their unyielding will to see the end of a despised authoritarian regime.

Clearly the third is the scenario that will best achieve the uprising's goals...."

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