A Cautionary Note!

Despite its sensationalist nature, we really should not read too much into Khaddam’s recent “act of apostasy.” His was a strong jab for his age, but it will not be a knockout blow by a long shot.

Indeed, the regime does not seem to completely unprepared for this move, as some analysts are suggesting, it is just that there strategy cannot be include an element of self-incrimination. They have to denounce Khaddam’s corruption, and soon others a well. But they will attempt to sue this momentum for the planned and long-expected launch of a Bashar-led “Corrective Movement” against the last vestiges of the Old Guard, as I have argued in my comment below. 

Indeed, many people in the internal opposition, well, the incompetent and greedy bastards to be specific, will be banking on that. The old line that Bashar had his hands tied by the Old Guard will be reiterated at this stage to buy him more time.

But this is not such a bad development really, for by this Bashar will have committed himself to a serious reform program and he will have heightened up popular expectations in this regard. The more savvy members of the internal opposition should up the ante at this stage by demanding more and more and opening more and more corruption files, especially those that could implicate the New Guard as well, including the President’s own cousin. This, and the fact that the President leading cadre of reformers will never be allowed to deliver on realistic reforms, just like before, means that crackdowns and failure will be forthcoming within a few short months. This time the popular disappointment will be too hard to handle.

So, on the short run, those who will read too much into Khaddam’s defection will be disappointed. On the longer run, however, those who will read too much into the regime’s new and hyped reform efforts will be more than just disappointed, they will be betrayed, again.

8 thoughts on “A Cautionary Note!

  1. These are very good points Ammar. Josh has also written a well argumented post saying that we shouldn’t forget about Bashar too quickly. The only safe prediction that we can make at this point is that the coming year will not be boring.

  2. Mr. Assad and the Syrian Ba’ath will be dissapointed again. They have miscalculated in the past and they have not given any indication that they have a clue about the new developments in International Relations; the ever expanding ideas of cosmopolitanism.I submit that we are on the verge of a major paradigm shift whereby the international community, through the UN will interfer with the internal affairs of a member state especially when that state is seen to follow illiberal policies. Cosmopolitanism is a welcome developmentbecause it oppses the homogenizing influences of Globalization but yet recognizes that by being citizens of the world then an injustice to one is injustice to all. I am of the opion that 1559 is nothing more than the first salvo in that effort and if the UN uscceeds in implimenting it without destablizing the region then that will become the model for many more similar efforts all over the world.Mr. Assad is running out of options and I am of the opinion that the Khaddam defection is one more nail; in the coffin.

  3. I Couldn’t agree more Ghassan. Asking to interrogate Bashar and Charaa, as the UN Commission into the Hariri Assassination just did, is another nail.

  4. Even if Assad and Sharra decided not to be questioned, do you really beleive the UN will have the “cajones” to put sanctions on Syria.

  5. Ammar keep this in mind, Hariri was a Sunni, Khaddam is a Sunni, and the Saudis are mostly Sunni. Hariri was close with both the House of Saud and even closer with The Elysee Palace. Hariri was the Saudi’s main man in Lebanon before the Alawite Assad in Damascus ordered him to be blown sky high. The Saudis and Chirac have had it out for Assad since 02/14/05. Bottom line, Khaddam would not have said the things he said unless he was under full protection from Chirac and Riyadh. Therefore I will not be surprised if the Saudis are making moves to topple Assad and using Khaddam to do so.

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised either. But, if there is a plot to topple Assad in some sort of an internal coup, you have to involve the Alawites as well. We need to look for the good Alawite.

Comments are closed.