"Pumping in weapons paid for by the Saudi absolute monarchy whose motives are sectarian & anti-Iranian, will exacerbate the violence!"
“…..The rebels could probably start a campaign of bombings and selective assassinations fairly easily in Damascus. This is not a sign that they are militarily strong, but it would be easy for a movement lacking arms and experienced fighters to spread instability by these means….
The present Syrian government may be trying to stir up sectarian strife in order to ensure that the minorities – Alawite, Christian, Druze and Kurd – remain on its side. But it did not invent these communal differences, though the opposition has been trying to play them down. I asked one diplomat long resident in Damascus what he thought of the picture of the Syrian crisis presented to the outside world by YouTube pictures posted by the opposition. “They are deceptive,” he answered dryly. “For instance, when they show anti-government demonstrations, the activists always edit out the bit where the crowd shouts ‘death to the Alawites!’”
The government probably does have a core constituency that will fight to the death. How big it is, nobody knows….At the heart of the Syrian crisis is a revolution against the police state run by the Assad family for 40 years. But there are two parallel struggles going on that taint and complicate this popular uprising. One is the struggle of the Sunni Arab powers, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, against the Shia. The other is the US and Saudi-led confrontation with Iran, whose most important ally in the Arab world is Syria. Weapons from Saudi Arabia are now reported to be reaching the insurgents. Iraqi officials say that al-Qa’ida fighters in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad, notorious for massacring Shia villagers and travellers, have headed back to Syria.
Understandable self-deception by activists in Damascus is matched by less justifiable self-deception outside the country. Recent suggestions, such as the establishment of a humanitarian “safe haven” on the Syrian side of the Turkish border, are a recipe for war (and will terrify Armenians in Aleppo and Kurds in Qamishli, both communities having dark memories of Turkish rule). Alternatively, pumping in weapons paid for by the Saudi absolute monarchy whose motives are primarily sectarian and anti-Iranian, will only exacerbate the violence.
President Bashar al-Assad will not go quietly and believes he does not have to go at all. Here lies the problem at the heart of the Syrian crisis, where Russia has some right on its side and President Putin’s critics are mistaken. Mr Assad’s regime is being asked to reform itself and, at the same time, to drop dead politically and pass out of existence. These aims are contradictory. Why should the Syrian government modify its behaviour if the true purpose of international pressure is regime change?
Regimes changed in Iraq and Libya because they were defeated in war by the Western powers (the Libyan rebels would not have lasted a week without Nato support).
If the Western powers are not going to go to war in Syria, and can’t get the Turks to do their dirty work for them, then they should push for reform and power-sharing that leaves a modified version of the Assad regime in place…”