Syria's Baath stands firm opposes change
The West, Arab satellites and now the Arab League plainly state the Baath regime in Syria must go. They argue because of the daily killings of its civilian population, the regime lead by president Bashar Al Assad who succeeded his father in 1999 and been ruling since 1970, has lost all credibility and must be replaced by a democratic government that is already in waiting.
The Baath regime has not done itself a favor for the past nine months since the uprising started from the south of the country to engulf the whole of Syria. For it part, the regime clamped down and tightened the screws on the protestors using its its different security forces to the hilt.
Already around 3500 civilians have been killed, and there could be more. The regime's security apparatuses have been heavy-handed and trigger-happy unwilling to show any compassion to the street in the towns and cities in the country which have been witnessing mass demonstrations on a daily basis.
Much contrasts has been shown over the last months as in the case of the Egyptian army which sided with the people and the final ouster of the Husni Mubarak regime in Cairo.
Although there has been breakaways in the Syrian army with officers and soldiers joining the people, nevertheless it has continued to exist as a bulwark against the people and pillar of the regime.
Its daily military actions against its civilian population has posed the regime as a bloody one, rigid and inflexible, intolerant of dissent and unwilling to share its rule with any other despite the growing opposition and demonstrations on the streets.
The picture that has been gradually built internationally was the Baathists, like the former Libyan regime of Moammar Ghadafi, are truly dictatorial that must go at all cost.
Like in the case with Libya, the international community has been split with regards to the future of the rule of the Baath Party. The United States and Europe would like to see the back of Bashar Al Assad replaced by a democratic government that no doubt will be pro-western.
This is while countries like Russia and China have been warning against foreign intervention for these countries still think of it in terms of global strategy. Damascus has always allied utself with the Russians and regime change there would be seen as a loss of influence.
But the situation is not that simple. It is argued although the West does want to see regime change in the country, it will not dare intervene because of its geopolitical location vis-à-vis Israel and simply because of the money aspect. The question is being posed of who is going to foot the bill in the face of the current economic crisis all over Europe and the United States.
This could be what the Baathists are banking on in spite of the belligerent stance of Turkey which at one time posed itself as a friend of the regime. Now it is hosting the opposition and grooming it as the future government.
The position of Israel has been ambivalent. One would have thought it would also be glad to see the back of the Baathists, but they seem happy to see a government that is strong, able to contain its population and seal its territories which it has been doing so since the 1973 October War.
Some argue Israel does not want to see a Nato-lead air cover operations on the skies of the area because it will simply reveal its nuclear reactors and weapons which it had long sought to hide from the world.
For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a change of government in Syria would certainly be a messy slippery-slope to changes in policy. For Israel it's better to have the devil you know than the devil you don't know.
And the same would go for the US Obama administration which is a traditional friend of Israel despite the outward views being made that the Baathists must stop attacking its civilians. Some suggest Israel and the USA don't really want to see a change of regime there and what is really being played out is nothing more than a public relations exercise.
The pan-Arab nationalists across the region are worried that a change of regime in Syria would tip the balance of power in the Middle East. They argue if Syrian regimes goes Turkey would be secured a place of strategic influence and more important it would allow Israel to flex its muscles in the region. Its military role would become more protracted, not affraid to go after traditional foes like Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas and Gaza.
Hamas would certainly suffer blows from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, both of whom reject the self-style rule of the Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip. But this again might be too simplistic a conclusion as assuming that the new regime in Syria, if it is installed, would automatically be more pliant with Israel.
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