It is clear that the al-Assad regime is losing its senses, particularly as the regime intensified the wave of violence which has struck a number of Syrian regions, with the death toll exceeding 80. This is not to mention the return of the car bomb, which appears to be a phenomenon that only occurs on Fridays, and we must thank God Almighty that vehicles do not have beards, otherwise the al-Assad regime would have brought such vehicles out onto the street as evidence of the presence of terrorists!
The question that must be asked now is: why has the al-Assad regime lost its senses in this manner, intensifying its violent practices to the point that the head of the Arab League observer mission General Mohammed al-Dabi was forced to issue a statement? Al-Dabi issued a statement saying that the violence has increased dramatically over the past three days, particularly in Homs, Hama and Idlib, calling for “an immediate end to the violence to protect the Syrian people and clear the way for peaceful resolutions.”
To answer the question, it is clear that the Arab League initiative calling on Bashar al-Assad to step down is the cause for the tyrant of Damascus losing his senses, particularly as this initiative opens new avenues for dealing with the Syrian file, such as transferring this issue to the UN Security Council. We are now witnessing a grand battle being fought within the UN for the Security Council to adopt this Arab initiative. The al-Assad regime’s fear is now focused on its dread that the Russians will sell them out, particularly in the event that the Russian demands are met, which is to be expected, for this is something that the Russians have done before, whether with regards to the Iranians or others. We must also not forget an important statement issued by [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin a few weeks ago in which he said that the West must take Russia’s strategic interests into account in any decision they take. Therefore the al-Assad regime today wants to quickly change the situation on the ground to convince Moscow of their capability of surviving the revolution, and ensuring that this is a fait accompli for the Arab states.
However it is clear today that the time has run out for Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is making one mistake after another on the ground. Indeed even Aleppo, which had distanced itself from the Syrian revolution, saw dozens of people being killed at the hands of the al-Assad regime yesterday, whilst the involvement of Iranian officers in supporting the al-Assad regime in Syria was also confirmed by a video recording released by the Free Syrian Army [FSA]. As we mentioned above, even General al-Dabi was forced to break his silence in the face of the violence and killings being carried out against Syrian citizens. He finally said a word of truth, after his previous reports about the situation in Syria were met with widespread rejection and condemnation. This is something that confirms that Saudi Arabia took the correct position to withdraw its observers from this mission; Riyadh announced that it would not bear false witness to what is happening in Syria, and this position was later adopted by the majority of other Gulf States.
In summary, the al-Assad regime is now racing against time to survive, but it is clear that the wheel of change has turned, and that the situation on the ground has changed and escalated, even outstripping Arab and international diplomatic efforts. Therefore, we will no doubt see more massacres being carried out by the al-Assad regime. May God help the people of Syria!
The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq al-Awsat. The article was published in the London-based newspaper on Jan. 28, 2012