May 4, 2014 By Bashar al Ibrahim

The Syrian cauldron

SyriaWorld anxiously anticipates in the midst of all-around violence the day when Bashar al Assad may join Hosni Mubarak and Qaddafi.
On August 2, when this analysis was being written, agencies reported that Syrian Army which backs President Bashar al Assad, let loose a spate of violence in the capital city of Damascus. In the shell bombing the day before many more rebels are supposed to have been annihilated, both the attacks taking the toll to 70 with the exception of 43 dead bodies that were found in west Damascus. Representatives of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the rebel faction, alleged that beyond maintaining the law and order of the country as Bashar and his representatives claim, the attacks claimed the lives of civilians. FSA also says that the army frisks civilians, seeks documents from them and arrest them on baseless allegations.

Meanwhile, the rebel army is reported to have bombed the airport at Damascus. A representative of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that rebels used tankers earlier captured from the army to create the impression that the army is behind the attack. But war unleashes the sandstorm of doubt and inconsistency and we are in a mess of doubt as to who did what. In another major development, Kofi Annan, who was appointed jointly by the UN and the Arab League to negotiate ceasefire and to set up an interim government, resigned, as stated by the UN General Secretary Ban ki Moon.

Thursday’s attack followed the assertive statements of Bashar al Assad that the Syria is leading a decisive war against those who unsettle his country. He said that the war will determine the bright future of his country. The statement was the first one he delivered after the eventful July 18, when the heart of Syria’s military command in Damascus was bombed. In what was dubbed as a development which could eventually weaken the Bashar regime, the attack killed the defence minister and a former military chief, including Assef Shawkath, Bashar’s brother-in-law and a powerful figure to reckon with. In the analysis of the Economist, the attack was masterminded by ‘insiders.’ The attack required ‘intelligence and access deep inside the regime’, which ‘will also damage the command structure of the armed forces and the security services.’ ‘A blast from  a huge bomb,’ the Economist adds, ‘somehow smuggled into the inner sanctum will sow mistrust and suspicion at all levels.’

In the meantime, the US is reported to be backing  the Free Syrian Army with the aim of ousting Bashar. Reuters reported on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama signed under an order for giving assistance to rebels who fight against Bashar. CIA and other agencies were instructed to help rebels. In another report carried by the same agency last week, some countries including Turkey was giving facility to the rebels on their borders. The US is supposed to be forming a tie-up with such countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose hostility to Syria is proved on religious grounds (the antagonism of the Sunni regimes against a major Allawi government). Though the US  has denied the report, it’s not a secret that it would leave no stones unturned to unsettle Bashar, who is one of the major threats to its proxy, Israel. The hollowness of pro-democratic claims of the US in its intervention in the Middle East, rather than dirty Realpolitik, is borne out by its initial indifference to the pro-democratic revolutionary movement witnessed in Egypt last year. Western media have sufficiently amplified the concerns of the US administration by claiming Bashar’s clinging to his position as hopelessness and stating that ‘flight from Syria’ was ‘his best option’ with only Russia to help the regime.

What we read in between the developments is that the tide of popular angst whose initial sparks we witnessed in Egypt and Libya could not be dammed up with the instruments power and machinations.

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