Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Live Updates

The Guardian


Endgame for Assad?

Brian Whitaker, the Guardian's former Middle East editor identifies six reasons why the Assad regime maybe nearing the end. 
1. Withdrawal of UN and diplomatic personnel: In effect, the UN and EU are now only a step away from ordering a complete evacuation.
2. Jihad Makdissi flees: This may not be as big a loss as some of the earlier defections and assassinations but it does tell us how someone who was privy to a lot of regime information now views the situation.
3. Damascus airport: A capital city without a functioning airport isn't really a capital city any more. Syrian officials insist the airport is still open, but to what extent it may be operating is a different matter.
4. Internet shutdown: Last week's two-day shutdown of the internet and mobile phones was widely seen as a deliberate move by the regime – and a sign of desperation, if not panic.
5. US reviewing its options: A report in the New York Times on Saturday said the US is "considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power".
6. Chemical weapons: Even among Assad's opponents there is a general belief that he is unlikely to use chemical weapons except as a last resort. If the US has really detected signs of "potential" preparation for use, it would mean the Assad regime is actively thinking about the end-game.
  • His security forces have lost a number of aircraft, helicopters and air force bases in recent days
  • Russian President Putin’s visit to Turkey has generated rumours that Moscow’s support for Asad is fading
  • Iran has intensified diplomacy with Turkey and Lebanon....."

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