Home > Arab Blogs > The Syrian ‘Islamic emirates’ (part II):

The Syrian ‘Islamic emirates’ (part II):

July 31st, 2011
“…Consequently, we should expect the regime to collapse in ultra-slow motion, at least compared with how matters developed in Tunisia and Egypt, and even, in the opposite direction, in Bahrain. The uneasy balance between the protestors and the security services will continue. Cities such as Hama and Homs and tribal regions such as al-Bukamal will grow incrementally more autonomous. At some point or in some places, protestors might take up arms. (Indeed this may have already begun.) In that case, the conflict on the streets will begin to look more like a civil war than a contest between security services and rock-throwing protestors. As the Ba‘athi regime loses strength and its residual power to intimidate, a power vacuum may well develop; indeed, it is already doing so. Such a vacuum will further destabilize not just the internal theater in Syria, but will have significant destabilizing implications for all of Syria’s neighbors.

Either way, regional powers will work to shape the battle on the ground to their advantage. The Turks, who are deeply concerned about the flow of refugees across their border, especially Kurds, now seem tempted to intervene directly, if only to establish a buffer zone where refugees could be sheltered on Syrian territory. Turkey has already taken an active role in hosting opposition conferences and providing a base for, among others, Muslim Brotherhood elements. For their part, the Iraqis will inevitably grow concerned about the creeping autonomy of the tribal regions on their border. Meanwhile, the Iranians will continue to support the regime, Tehran’s closest ally in the region and its gateway to its proxies Hizballah and Hamas. In sum, Syrian domestic politics will become enmeshed with regional politics, according to a pattern now familiar to us from Iraq and Lebanon.The question for Washington, then, is this: How can the United States compress the timeline of collapse? …”



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