July 17, 2012
The Syrian Uprising which started in March 2011 seem as it has at last reached its breaking point. After over 18,000 people killed, it seems that Bashar Assad days are numbered. Until now, Assad has succeeded in keeping the uprising on the periphery, far from the Damascus centre, and believed that he would be able to stamp out the winds of change through violent massacres of innocent civilians, bombarding numerous cities. While the Syrian uprising was at first confined to peaceful protests over the last six months numerous opposition groups took up arms, causing fear that what we have is actually the beginnings of a full-fledged civil war. During the last days, Damascus has slowly become the center of the opposition assaults and today Assad has received his biggest hit to date, one that it is likely he will not be able to overcome. A daily meeting of Assad’s inner-circle and highest officials was targeted internally, when a bomb was set off killing the DefenseMinister Daud Rajiha, “the highest profile pro-Assad figure to be killed,” his long time family confidante and brother-n-law Asif Shawkat, former Defense Minister Hasan Turkmani, and seriously injuring the Chief of Intelligence Hisham Bekhtyar and the Minister of Interior Muhammad Shaar, among others.
It is clear that the opposition forces in Syria have shown that they do have the strength to bring down the Assad regime. The fact that such a mission was completed under the noses of these high ranking officials just shows the cracks in the system, not to mention the growing numbers of officials choosing to flee for the surrounding countries of Jordan and Turkey. For now, the UN will continue to work to secure an unanimous vote in the Security Council condemning the Assad regime, something that only can be one if Russia agrees. However, it seems that the Syrians will not, and have not, waited for the world to act since simply the world already abandoned the Syrians long ago. Lastly, while some analysts warn of a civil war following the ousting of Assad I would argue that this is unlikely. It seems that after today even the upper and middle classes of Damascus who supported the regime in the name of stability and fear of the unknown will submit themselves to the new order which will emerge. Not like Egypt also, once Assad goes, so does the army officials, and there could be a real chance for reconciliation, also among the different sectarian groups.