Sunday, August 7, 2011

The New Overture

Amid international pressure and to improve their imagine the Assad regime has taken upon itself to make further fake overtures to the protesters.  Certainly Arab league condemnation, EU, US and UN words have created a situation to take some heat off.

This is not the first offer.  After all... The emergency law has ended, can't you tell by watching the news?  It is no longer legal to make broad sweeping detentions and there is accountability within the government that wasn't before right?  I suppose the lack of change from the last overtures and the continues detention of tens of thousands and the death of over 2000 people up until this point, has left a sour taste in the mouth's of the Syrian people.

I think it is only fair to talk openly about what the regime is really offering.

1. Political Parties can now be formed, but may not have and ethnic basis, a religious basis, a particular trade represented and may not be tied to any international or other national party.

2. Free general elections by the end of the year.

There things are certainly attempts to quell something, but what?  I infer that it is first to quell international condemnation by making seemingly reasonable offers but let us talk about what is not said.

The regime targets four groups with these offers.
1. International players are meant to see the offer as reasonable, but since he continues his crack down it is likely to both have no effect.  So far the regimes calls that religious extremists are at the root of this revolt has fell on deaf ears, thank god.  Even the far right conservatives and the US and Europeans obsessed with the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt are concerned that the Americans and Europeans are not doing enough, so they can't rely on the hate of Muslims among the west to create callousness towards the protesters.

2. Domestic supporters of the president, most of whom are misled but innocent sheep in comfy government positions, may see the measures as reasonable and therefore view the lack of response of the protester actions as further proof of the degree to which protestors are unreasonable and justify the regime's fairy tale that foreign and Islamist influences are the sole reason for the country's revolt.  It is also meant to display this to minorities who still remain mostly silence due both the fear of the regime and of the potential of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Syria. When coupled with recent actions towards Christians in Iraq and Egypt these are not unreasonable concerns, and the regime feeds on this.

3. To the draftees who are carefully kept isolated from family and international news it is meant to be further proof the foreign and extremist roots of the protestors.  The goal is to dehumanize the protesters into extremist and Zionist and American stooges.  However, defections are still occurring on a limited scale and this will likely not be effective.  You can't replace by regurgitation to the soldiers, the 18-23 year old roots of family opinion and morals whispered in secret behind the backs of the regime.  Key to this is, however sending draftees to areas different to the areas the are familiar with and grew up in, and the culling of high ranking Sunnis in the security forces through fake "resistance" attacks, that are just a little bit to effective.

4. The final reason is to create division in the resistance.  Liberal Muslims and Christians who envision a secular liberal democracy are meant to separate from Islamists  and moderate Muslims who desire at the very least the flavor of Syria's Islamic culture be present in any new government.  It appears, however that this will have little effect on the resistance who would rather hash those problems out later on.

In the end the measures have no clothes.  The new law didn't alter the fact that the Ba'ath party is still to be the top party.  It doesn't change decades of lack of trust, as like in Egypt the protestors fear a premature acceptance of concessions will create a scenario where the can be rounded up in private at the regimes leisure.  Finally what party affiliation do they expect people to have?  With the current limitations there can be no Islamic parties (not a bad thing to secularists like me, except that the Alawi brotherhood party would still continue in force).  But there also can be no "Future Movement" as it would be considered a branch of a Lebanese party, no labor party because it could be consider a trade, no communist party, as that would also be linked to international organizations as well.  Perhaps they expect the Syrian people to start a "Misled Dogs of the regime party.

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