Who Will Fall In Syria's Fourth Year? In All Cases, Syria Today Is Not As It Was Yesterday
20 March 2014
By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
As the Syrian revolution enters its fourth year, the
question remains as to whether President Bashar Al-Assad's
regime will exit power or whether it will finally be
able to eliminate the opposition and subjugate the
majority revolting against it.
The enormous number of daily battles across Syria
certainly shows that three years of suppressing the
Syrian people has not yielded results, despite the
support the regime used to enjoy.
Two years ago, Assad was trying to buy a few weeks to
control some areas rebelling against him. At the
beginning of last year, he agreed in principle to
negotiate over a new government in order to buy more
Then, when the deadly gas attack happened in the
Ghouta area of Damascus, he rushed—relying on Russian
and Iranian guarantees—to make a proposal to surrender
his chemical weapons arsenal.
The proposal was also a way for Assad to stave off US
intervention and buy more time to finalize the battle
in his favor.
Despite all the time, weapons and experts he has
bought, and despite having deprived the armed
opposition of advanced weapons, Assad has still failed
to tighten his grip on Syria.
All he has succeeded in doing has been to destroy the
country in a manner conveying hatred and rancor. We
now enter the fourth year of the most ferocious war to
topple a regime the region has ever known.
Half of the Syrian population is now displaced, while
the number of those killed has reached the hundreds of
At the same time, the battles are ongoing around
Damascus. The regime has consumed the time it bought
to get rid of its chemical arsenal. It will either
wither, exposed without its chemical arsenal, or it
will continue to stall in order to gain more time and
thus embarrass the United States and probably place
itself under the threat of NATO firepower.
So what about the international supporters of the
opposition? Do they have the enthusiasm, capability
and tolerance to arm the Free Syrian Army (FSA), aid
millions of refugees on a daily basis, and engage in
political battles against Assad and Iran in
Those parties that believe in the opposition and
support the Syrian people—particularly Saudi Arabia,
the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—are still committed
to their stance. These countries realize the threats
posed if the opposition were to be abandoned.
They do understand that if they were to do that it
would mean the victory of the Iranian regime in the
region as a whole. They are also aware that the
tragedy will expand if they abandon their role in
aiding the regional struggle, which needs to be
brought to end.
As the opposition enters another year of suffering and
indecisiveness, the burden increases on the FSA, the
opposition Syrian National Council and other parties
raising the revolution's flag.
Unfortunately, these are the weakest parties in the
Syrian crisis. They are still weak, divided and
incapable of controlling their own structure, and
continue to engage in their own internal power
struggles. The opposition's struggles have also
stirred clashes among the sponsoring countries.
The opposition also bears some responsibility when it
comes to having weak global political support, after
stirring fears and worries regarding its abilities to
manage the liberated lands, people and resources.
Criminal parties such as the Al-Nusra Front and the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), infiltrated
the opposition as a result of its rivalry. These
criminal groups have served the interests of the
regime, threatening minorities and terrorizing most
people who revolted against Assad's authoritarian
regime only to find a group that was no less evil.
In all cases, Syria today is not as it was yesterday,
and it will not be like a future Syria. The country's
situation has changed forever.
Assad and his regime are part of a history that has
been decided no matter how hard he, Iran, Hezbollah
and Russia try. We hope for less pain and for a quick
transition. Unfortunately, the world insists on
prolonging the bloodshed, pain and brutality.
Al Rashed is the general
manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the
leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also
a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al
Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree
in mass communications. He has been a guest on many TV
current affairs programs. He is currently based in