The Syrian regime has no intention of implementing the plan of the U.N.-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan.
It is rather adopting a “waiting” strategy based on expelling its own problems. Advised by its inner circle, the regime is clearly betting on future potential changes that would eventually influence the structure of the events and the external consequences.
Needless to say, the regime has approved the U.N. mission due to the pressures exerted by the international community.
In fact, the three months’ time margin provided by the mission, is considered by the “anti-revolution” masterminds an opportunity to allow the international community to accept the upcoming changes as a fait accompli (while both the French and American administrations are currently concerned by their own elections).
Simultaneously, the local scene inside Syria is being remodeled with relentless killings, arrests of revolutionary activists and the continual displacements of citizens, mainly in Homs, which reflects a key success in dismantling the uprising and taking out the city from the revolution’s map, according to the regime leadership.
Based on the following facts, it appears that the regime approved the U.N. mission based on the Russian evaluation of the international stance on Syria, especially after the emergence of the “Friends of Syria” which for the Kremlin, was a serious and highly active movement to find “alternative” solutions to deal with the crisis.
The “Friends of Syria” movement also suggested a monitoring group to follow-up on the crisis including 14 influential countries, which made the movement more famed in Russia than in Syria itself.
It is clear that the Russian strategy aims to soothe the stance of these countries in order to halt their excitement, until the alliance focuses solely on the urgent humanitarian crisis in Syria, without proposing any strategic plan.
Moreover, Moscow is trying to drag the world into a controversial discussion about the presence of organized terrorism in Syria led by “armed gangs.” And Russia has successfully managed to hold both parties of the crisis responsible, after effectively fabricating a second party that the world has accepted, whereas the “real” second party is the people of Syria struggling against the regime.
And even though this second party has embraced a military component, it still reflects a popular movement and not an isolated phenomenon.
With the Russian strategy and the time lapse provided by Annan’s plan, the Syrian regime might try to stop the uprising with firmer arrests and more killings.
It will also try to limit the defections within the army, which is becoming quite dangerous for a regime that can no longer predict the defectors’ scale and potential consequences.
Based on the above elements, it is fair to say that the regime is not willing to implement Annan’s initiative regarding the peaceful transfer of power.
The Syrian government knows that the international community is now considering a Yemen-like solution while the Syrian protesters are determined to pursue their struggle without any compromises.
It is in fact impossible for the Syrian people, after the bloodshed and the destruction, to accept any settlement or conciliation.
The regime’s choices are therefore narrowing down. It has to either drastically silence the revolution and find ways to rebuild the regime on the international and regional scenes, or it will thrust the country towards a civil war where the perpetrator goes unpunished and where the past atrocities get lost in the woes of a war for which all parties shall be held responsible.
(This article was published in Al- Hayat Newspaper on May 1, 2012 and translated from Arabic by Stanela Khalil.)