Friday, 13 March 2015

Syria revolution four years on: Don't bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his country destroyed so long as he can cling to power

Image for the news result

Robert Fisk's support for Assad becomes more irrational as time goes on. If the threat to bomb Assad was hollow, why should we believe "we hate Assad," or "we supported the opposition"? The original Syrian opponents of Assad are the same ones opposing him now, it is ISIS that is largely composed of non-Syrians (or indeed Assad's support from Lebanon and Iran). The secret mythical intermediary between Assad and ISIS has been exposed as one Mr. Haswani*. They have taken a few villages south of Qamisleh in the wake of the Kurdish YPG doing more damage to ISIS in the area and they have collapsed without a fight**. I can't find any trace of them fighting ISIS north-east of Latakia, but rather the Free Syrian ZArmy and Ahrar al-Sham***. Maybe he's talking about the August 2013 Latakia offensive**** in which ISIS played some small part. It's soldiers have been murdered en masse when their officers abandoned them, hardly the sign of an army on a mission to destroy ISIS. There a a couple more lies to mention, that the Free Syrian Army is nothing but "supposedly pro-Western" guerrillas, and that everyone's crimes in Syria are much the same because blood sticks to everyone's hands, though of course those of the Islamists are always worse. Fisk is completely detached from reality.
 "Their threat to bomb Assad out of Damascus was hollow – and Assad’s self-confidence blossomed. Those who hero-worshipped the original Syrian opponents of Assad (brave men indeed) are now creating a new and dark scenario for us, in which Assad has all along encouraged the Islamists – indeed allied himself to Isis – via a series of secret but mythical negotiators, and in which Assad’s army fights only its internal opponents and lets Nato bomb Isis to its heart’s content. But Assad’s army is fighting Isis – south of Qamishleh, for example, and north-east of Latakia – and its soldiers have been shot into mass graves by the black-hooded men of the “Islamic Caliphate”.
So who will win? At first, we supported the opposition and hated Assad. But now that Isis is ruling much of Syria (though few of its cities) and killing Christians and Westerners, we hate Isis even more than we hate Assad. That’s why we bomb Isis but didn’t bomb Assad. And as long as both “sides” think they can still win, the war will go on for another year or two. Or three. Which means that Assad survives. But after perhaps 300,000 dead, would that be a victory?"

***"The Islamist Ahrar al-Sham claimed rocket strikes on Slanfeh and Aramo, regime positions south of Dorin, while the FSA’s First Coastal Division said it had struck government posts in Dorin as well as Nabi Younes, the highest point in the region. A commander from the First Coastal Division—the largest FSA formation in Latakia Governorate—said in an interview that the regime had attacked the rebels’ mountain position to raise the morale of Assad supporters."

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