Friday, August 12, 2011

Syria regime blunders toward self-destruction

The harsh criticism leveled at the Syrian regime by Saudi Arabia and Turkey last week could prove a turning point in the popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Until now Western sanctions have been ineffective in preventing Assad's violent crackdown on protestors in the last six months. However, the influence of neighboring Turkey and Saudi Arabia is greater than the West, and opens the possibility of damaging diplomatic, economic and even military action.

Yet Assad's increasing international and regional isolation was far from inevitable, and is one of a growing list of miscalculations by his regime that is bringing about its own destruction.

For months Syria's security forces, under the command of Assad's relentless brother, Maher has cracked down with relative impunity while the Arab states and Turkey have said little or remained silent. Assad's strategy appeared to be to suppress demonstrations while cynically keeping casualties to a "manageable" level, rarely crossing 100 deaths on the worst days. (more)