Pharoah Bashar's SS doing live interrogation on video
Interview with Dr. Vladimir Ahmedov, Russian expert in the Middle East security issues.
The attack on Hama by the government forces that took place last Saturday marks a new shift in Syrian uprising. There are two dimensions to the shift – external and internal.
In the regional and international levels the ruling regime in Syria has started loosing its legitimacy quicker then ever. Hama’s storm broke the wall of silence in the Arab world and among the Arab rulers. Now they’ll have to take their own stance on Syria. The latest developments in Syria may undermine the stability in the whole of the region and the situation in the neighboring countries as far as the Syrian regime evidently loosing its control on the situation inside the country.
Mass demo 500k+ in Hama
In short-term perspective that may result in Arab countries working out their common stance on Syria. This may be issued either at a level of GCC countries or the Arab league. As for the international response, the US and leading European countries have toughened their positions on Syria.
Even Russia Syria’s close ally, may change its attitude towards Damascus. Commenting on Hama’s recent events Russian foreign ministry has in fact admitted the excessive use of force by the government and appealed to regime to stop shooting their own people.European countries are adopting new stricter sanctions against the Syrian regime. The consultations in UN Security Council on Syria have been resumed in New York.
How about the internal dimension?
In Syria the echo of Hama has more significant consequences.
The regime’s approach to solve Hama’s puzzle has frightened many Syrians by its historical allusions and has buried their hopes in the regime’s ability to resolve the current crisis through national dialog. Fear and disillusionment may result in more people turning away from Basher Assad and going out into the streets.
The beginning of Ramadan – a Holy month when every day is seen as Friday and many Syrians observing religious fasting (don’t eat and drink) may bring in more tension and struggle. Restrictions imposed by authorities on visiting mosques which they see as nerve centers of popular unrest, are fully contradicting Islamic law, tradition and moral norms.
Open torture doesnt intimidate syrians anymore
In this Holy month when after the sunset many Syrians used to gather in mosques, make visits during the night, go shopping and spend time in the public places. All this has now been limited especially in big cities. This alone can alter the general sentiment in Damascus and Haleb turning it against the regime.
Besides, the time of religious fasting may attribute additional sectarian notes to the struggle on both sides. Fear of sectarian violence is the main reason why the army is still loyal to the regime. It also explains why Syrian military act in very different manner from their colleagues in Tunisia and Egypt.
Nevertheless new reports are coming in about growing divisions within the army, defection higher ranking officers and even of attempts to create new army of the free patriotic military. However, the higher command and many senior officers are still on the regime’s side. Partially it may be explained by a specific organizational structure of the Syrian army aimed more at preventing coup attempts then effectively fighting against the foreign enemy.
On the other hand it is quite telling that today to fight protestors the regime uses Special Forces and so called shabiha(the secret political police) that represent ruling alawi group. In fact it keeps many high officers from openly opposing the regime.
They are afraid that if they do so the army could split along confessional lines so the army opposition could lose its patriotic character. That, in its turn, could send a wrong signal to the whole society and eventually result in sectarian civil war.
Pharoah Bashar needs mujahedeens help
The military would then be responsible for this in the eyes of the public. Such an outcome is very probable during the Holy month of Ramadan. So in this way the ability of Syrian army or rather its more democratically minded part, to give their strong and open support to the protestors is limited.
The military need more time to take their step. But the situation in Syria is developing and the dynamics are negative. Nor the Syrian society, neither their regional nor international surrounding can wait for long.
So I don’t exclude that as soon as the Syrian opposition aboard and inside the country unite their ranks they may be forced (against their own commitments and will) by some regional and international forces to set up the interim government that may later be recognized as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people to save this people from more suffering. In that case the situation in Syria may start developing like in Libya and Iraq.