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Assad’s New Scam – OpEd

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By Tariq Alhomayed

Russia wasted no time congratulating the Assad regime’s acceptance of Kofi Annan’s six-point proposal, while the Arab ministers taking part in the summit in Baghdad also seized the opportunity to welcome this step, while also rejecting foreign intervention (in Syria), and the man responsible for cooking up this dish — or plan — Kofi Annan began shouting that “implementation will be the key!”

Of course, Assad will not implement this plan, and — as I said two days ago — it will be precisely the same whether regime responds positively or negatively. Indeed, it would be extremely difficult for Assad to execute this plan because it would result in his ouster… that’s correct, Assad’s ouster. This is because suppressive regimes cannot carry out any “adjustments,” and they do not know the meaning of the word “pragmatism.” The legitimacy of dictatorial regimes are based on force and intimidation, they govern on the basis of divide and rule, not convergence or bringing people together around them. Therefore, the reasons that the Assad regime has agreed to Annan’s six points are clear to see; or rather they have become even clearer today. Assad accepted this plan for a number of reasons, including because he understood the message that Moscow was sending him when it stated that Annan’s mission was his last chance, therefore the drowning Assad has grabbed the Russian life preserver. As for evidence that he is drowning and weak, this can be seen in his visit to Baba Amro on the day that his regime announced its acceptance of Annan’s plan, for he wants to tell his followers that he is present and strong, and he was therefore attempting to raise the morale of those around him. The other reason that Assad has accepted Annan’s plan is to confound any consensus at the Arab summit in Baghdad, and hinder the Friends of Syria summit in Turkey.

Do we expect the Assad regime to implement this (plan)? Of course not, Annan’s points are clear, and implementing them would mean that Assad was on the way out, for he will only negotiate with the opposition if he is leaving; we cannot imagine this occurring under any other circumstances. As for withdrawing the regime’s forces, and allowing demonstrations to take place, this would mean demonstrations breaking out across the whole of Syria; at this point we will see a repeat of the Tahrir Square scene in Egypt, resulting in the beginning of the countdown to the end of Assad’s rule. In the event that the Assad regime returned to the use of force, as it is doing today, this means that there would be no other option than international intervention on the basis that Annan’s plan provides for the necessity of international observers, and not along the lines of the Al-Dabi delegation. From here it is clear that the only reason that Assad has accepted Annan’s plan is to — once more — buy time, this is the game that he has excelled at since he first came to power in Syria. This is in order to shuffle the cards and strengthen the position of his supporters, whether in Iran or Syria, as well as to confuse Turkey before the Friends of Syria meeting, in the hope that this will enable him to finish off the revolution militarily.

This is how the Assad regime thinks, and this is certainly what it is doing today. The evidence of this can be seen in the fact that more than 80 Syrians were killed on the same day that Assad announced his acceptance of Annan’s plan.

Therefore we must not be fooled again and again by the games being played by the Assad regime. We must instead start arming the revolutionaries, via the correct channels who know the situation on the ground and the (opposition) leadership. We must not wait any longer, for every day that passes means the killing of more Syrian innocents at the hands of Assad’s forces.

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Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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