Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Assad will only go if his own tanks turn against him

Predictions of Syrian leader's imminent demise are hopelessly optimistic

By Robert Fisk

"....And my Middle Eastern crystal ball broke many years ago. But I'll hazard a dangerous prediction: Assad's time is running out, fast – but don't believe the State Department and the Washington "tink thanks" (as I call them) and the EU or the Arab League. He ain't going yet....

The truth is that Russia was once Libya's only arms supplier; it was selling combat jets, frigates, tanks and anti-aircraft systems to Colonel Gaddafi after the West's 1974 arms embargo and had 3,500 advisers in the country. Its ships could refuel at the Tripoli naval base. Now it is associated with the dead and hated regime. Russia was 73rd on the list of nations to recognise the Libyan National Transitional Council.

So now the Syrian city of Tartous contains the only 24-hour port open to the Russian navy in the Mediterranean....

One thing is now clear. Quite apart from the massive civilian casualties, even opponents of the regime now admit that Assad faces an armed insurgency. This may originally have been a myth promoted by the regime, but the monster has now been born. Anti-Assad activists now openly speak of "armed insurgents"......"

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