As the protests in Syria continue despite continued repression (including this monstrous treatment of a 13 year old boy), commentators are beginning to question just how long Assad can hold on for. While the embattled Syrian president looks far more secure than either Qaddaffi in Libya or Saleh in Yemen, where large portions of the army have defected and the regime faces a physical threat, some have questioned how long Assad can withstand the popular, economic and international pressure that is increasing.
My interpretation is that something more still needs to change for Assad to go. This might be defections from the military, or a clear sign from the business community that it will no longer tolerate the disruption to commerce that the protest-repression-international condemnation cycle is bringing. There are no signs of either yet but the more people join the portests and if (when?) they erupt in Damascus and Aleppo, the chances of this will increase.
Here are a few thoughts on the matter from around the web:
Haaretz: The regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad will not survive and will eventually collapse under the pressure of demonstrations in his country. This is the assessment of Israel’s military establishment – and this view is gaining strength. A senior security source told Haaretz this week that “Assad is becoming weaker. It may take a few months, or a year or more, but the regime will probably fail to recover. Forty years of rule by the Assad family are on their way to coming to an end.”
Ali al-Hajj (Guardian): The Syrian people think the time for change has come, and they cannot go back. They do not fear the state violence machine. They will not accept reforms promised by a regime in broad daylight, then disregarded come nightfall. All credibility and legitimacy has been lost. At last, the only legitimacy acceptable to the people of Syria is that to emerge via the ballot box. When you ask Syrians about the west’s stance, they tell you there is no doubt: the civilised world will not leave them isolated; international legitimacy is the strongest path now; and the interests of the west lie in a democratic, peaceful Syria that endeavours for scientific, economic, and societal development.