It has been already one year we are discussing war and atrocities in Syria led by the Assad regime. The international community still ponders upon measures and actions ahead, but people continue to die.
On the diplomatic front Assad is still refusing to give away. Nonetheless, after international pressure advocated and implemented in diplomatic level following the Geneva summit on the 30rd of June and the efforts of the special envoy of the UN KoffiAnnan, Assad is certainly sensing defeat. All parties involved are reckoning for a transitional governing body but mutual consent is lacking as Russia is still backing Assad.
So let us put things in a row and explore why a viable solution is not reached and conditions get even more puzzling.
a. Assad’s regime while losing ground of support still empowers security forces and systematic use of tortures in the entire territory.
b. The Syrian opposition is skeptical. The three major groups, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian National Council -which is the largest exile group- are seeming unwilling to reach binding diplomatic and financial support from abroad in order to intensify pressure against Assad’s supportive mechanism inside and outside the country ( i.e. fighting down or converting Assad’s fanatics; progressing in the battle of the streets; putting Arab states more vigorously in the diplomatic game).
c. The Kurds, who make up around 15% of Syrians, walked out in protest against being termed as ethnic group rather than a people. As stated from their representatives, Kurdish Syrians also seek for transitional change and not for ethnic domination or independence-at least for the moment. Still their voice and influence is not strong enough to bring about changes.
What is more, the Alawite sect, to which the Assad family belongs, retains its strongholds inside bureaucracy and militia despite the strengthening of the opposition forces. Meanwhile, although high-ranking officials, including brigadiers and generals, are fleeing, heavily armed Alawite irregulars remain loyal to Assad and launch waves of raids and lootening.
On the other hand, international and influential media and think-tanks are widely writing and reporting about the last days of Assad. One might say that comparing the actual escalation of conflict on the one side, and media coverage on the other side, it seems that some critical parts of puzzle are missing. To my opinion, I tend to believe that the lack of decisiveness of the international community to press for a cease-fire and move on to a transitional situation as in the case of Egypt is based on the unresolved issue of the wider Kurdish community, not solely the Syrian one. Kurds a spread all along the major strategic areas of the Middle East being part of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
In Iraq the Kurds are since 2010 gaining significant ground of power being constituent part of the Iraqi government after years of harsh oppression under Hussein’s rule. In Iran the Kurds are marginalized and suppressed seeking for support from its diaspora so as to enforce pressure against Ahmadinejad’s regime and advance their civilian and political status. In Turkey clashes have been intensified in the southeast borders between Turkish forces and Kurdish guerilla groups since 2010. In Syria now the community may equally seek for empowering its position in the view of major political evolution in the country. In this respect, given that Middle East is one of the fundamental regions of geostrategic concern for the major powers (i.e. US, Russia, China), further imbalancing of Kurdish-populated zones without establishing a certain status quo in advance -attached to superpowers’ interests- could lead to a domino effect which is in fact the revival of the dream for a united Kurdish state.
Therefore, dismantling Syria would further implicate a similar response to the case of Iran, another rogue state in the region, and finally it would also lead to a less elastic treatment of the international community against Turkey with respect to the issue of its Kurdish community.
I firmly believe the fall of Assad is inevitable, as the momentum for doing so is also getting close, but as negotiations and agreements before heading have not been yet identified by the major geostrategic powers, nothing will be done.
Dimitris Rapidis is a Strategist, Publicist, and Commentator on Greek, European Politics and Latin American Politics. Has has worked at the European Parliament, at think-tanks and NGOs in EU. He is founder of Bridging Europe.
Dimitris is thoroughly involved in the analysis of the Greek financial crisis in Eurozone, the political and geopolitical shifts globally. His analyses and interviews have been featured in national, European and regional broadcasting networks, media, and journals, such as Bloomberg, Euronews, Associated Press, Al Jazeera, El Pais, Publico, El Mundo, La Razon, Sputnik, Russia Today, Newsweek, Financier Worldwide, Die Welt, Handelsblatt, BBC, Nouvel Observateur, Anadolu Agency, Hurriyet, among others. He has studied political science and international affairs at the Universities of Athens and Geneva. Dimitris is founding member of the Research Committee on Geopolitics (RC-41) of the International Political Science Association, and the Model of the European Union of the Galatasary University. He has been a guest speaker at numerous international academic and governmental conferences, summer schools and symposia in Europe.