Saturday, August 27, 2011

Syria: The Ramifications And Foundations Of The Regime

By Husam Itani
Those who attacked Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat will disappear behind that jungle of security ramifications and branches, and his right to see justice done to him will consequently be lost, just like that of thousands among his fellow citizens.
It is also likely that some people from within the regime will come out and call on Farzat to reveal the names of those who assaulted him so that they are pursued, considering that the authority – just like any other – does not tolerate any attacks against the artists and the cultured by the rogue and the scoundrels. This is one of the rules of the “security” and opposition game in all dictatorships.
In Syria, the multiple facets of the regime are turning into a problem facing all those seeking negotiations or enmity with it. The testimonies at this level are too numerous to count, namely in regard to the Syrian command’s acceptance of one proposal and its opposite, its issuance of orders not to shoot the demonstrators while deploying troops to “cleanse and liberate” the villages, calling the journalists to give them full paragraphs from the president’s upcoming speech featuring drastic reforms, then ignoring all the demands and resorting to expressions such as “germs” and “Takfiri Salafi gangs.” There are also the pledges to discontinue the military operations before the tanks’ bombing of the homes of Homs and Al-Rastan among other areas, and even the information about the puzzlement prevailing over foreign officials and diplomats in regard to the side truly controlling the political and security decisions in the country and the difficulty of convincing the Syrian interlocutors of moving from the stage of talk to that of actions, as a necessary means to start exiting the crisis.
But there is something exceeding the allocation of the roles and the intentional coordination between the regime’s spiderlike “ramifications.” Some are talking about multiple decision makers and the absence of a centralized security-political plan within the regime to face the opposition. The rule in Syria was never known for having any “decentralization” tendencies, knowing that the local administration law is still among the laws which it is promising the reformists it will issue one day. But even if it were to appear that the numerous levels and types of responses to the demonstrators constitute a strategic gain for the protesters who exposed a main nerve in the authorities’ reaction to their activities, this carries – at the same time – a major threat facing the structure and future of the state in Syria.
Indeed, the security apparatuses which have been prominently present during the past years without any restraints or control and the implementation of an independent policy by every military brigade in accordance with the field data of the area in which they are deployed, all herald the threat of seeing the dismantlement of the apparatuses and the armed forces into groups which are only linked by their loyalty to the regime. This ought to distance them from all forms of containment or connections known even in totalitarian states.
Moreover, whoever follows the Syrian economic and financial indicators can notice the major drop affecting the tourism and exportation sectors and the increase of the reliance on transfers coming from abroad as the key characteristics of the current Syrian situation. One could even say that the regime has also become more reliant on foreign “political” funds to maintain the minimum level of the state institutions’ ability to perform their tasks, both the security and economic ones.
This bleak future is placing the patriotic Syrians before a massive responsibility, related to perceiving the future of their country from a new angle (namely at the level of public action), paying attention to the depth of the problems which they will face once change is induced, but more importantly, hastening the accomplishment of this change as a top priority.
This commentary was published in al-Hayat on 26/08/2011

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