HomeInternationalIntelligence website: Therefore, the rehabilitation of the Assad regime will have serious...

Intelligence website: Therefore, the rehabilitation of the Assad regime will have serious repercussions on the region

Intelligence website: Therefore, the rehabilitation of the Assad regime will have serious repercussions on the region

London – “Arab Jerusalem”:

The American “Stravor” Center for Security and Intelligence Studies (which is described as close to American intelligence) published a researcher Ryan Pohl in which he stressed that normalization with the Assad regime would be a continuation of the cycle of conflict and tyranny in the Middle East.

The researcher says that an increasing number of Arab countries have recently begun to revive relations with the Syrian regime after a decade of civil conflict and failed attempts to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. With his regime slowly emerging from isolation, regimes and non-democratic actors in the Middle East and North Africa want to highlight Assad’s success as evidence that force is a very viable option to suppress threats.

With his regime slowly emerging from isolation, regimes and non-democratic actors in the Middle East and North Africa want to highlight Assad’s success as evidence that force is a very viable option to suppress threats.

Of all the Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2011, the Assad regime seemed the most willing to change the way the region governed itself. Unlike other countries that experienced significant anti-government protests during that time (such as Egypt and Tunisia), Syria was the Arab security state governed by the Mukhabarat. Damascus was widely seen as “proof of transformation” after decades of internal reorganization and loyalty tests devised by the ruling Assad clan.

Thus, the Syrian regime’s government seemed immune to popular pressure, not to mention rebellion, because it could use force as it wanted. If the Arab Spring succeeded in reversing this equation, the police state would lose its credibility, as would regional tyranny in general.

However, the turmoil of the Arab Spring in Syria turned into years of armed conflict and civil war. And when the Russian air force and Iranian-backed militias began to change the military reality in favor of “Assad” after 2015, a new lesson emerged: “Such a brutal civil war can be won, and a hard-line approach to unrest can produce victory, albeit costly.”

Syria’s reconstruction bill of at least $500 billion (more than 8 times the country’s pre-war GDP of $60 billion in 2010) indicates that the Syrian regime will need massive amounts of aid to rebuild the shattered country. But US and European sanctions seemed as if they would hinder reconstruction forever, leaving the “Assad” regime with a bleak landscape, with affected cities receiving only a few hours of electricity per day, and even regime supporters struggling to obtain fuel and medicine.

However, even this assumption now appears in doubt, as the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain have begun to actively normalize relations with Syria in recent weeks, despite the Caesar Act that imposes sanctions on countries and entities that cooperate with the Assad regime.

The Emiratis took the lead in this campaign, pledging to build a solar power plant in Syria shortly after sending their foreign minister to Damascus on November 9. Jordan also reopened its border with Syria in September, while Bahrain reappointed its ambassador to Damascus in December. Meanwhile, Egypt has been actively lobbying for the Assad regime’s return to the Arab League after its suspension in 2011.

As the writer stresses, all of these countries are considered allies of the United States, and these countries are usually wary of angering Washington and its sanctions. But they seem convinced that the United States does not want to quarrel with its regional partners over Syria, a country in which Washington is not interested in improving overall governance and instead focuses primarily on security threats in the northeast.

These calculations have held up so far, as the United States has yet to indicate any intention to impose sanctions in response to the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, and Bahrain outreach to Damascus. Indeed, even Washington appears to be finding exceptions in its strategy to isolate Syria, as the United States is now seeking to restart the long-closed Arab Gas Pipeline that runs from the Egyptian city of Arish to the Syrian city of Homs.

While it may take some time before the United States publicly drops its objections to the full return of the Assad regime to the global economy and diplomatic space, the path is clear enough. In the future, US sanctions may be weakened enough to allow the flow of aid and reconstruction investments, and over time this may lead to greater developments.

He points out that the Syrian model is not the first time that power has been rewarded in the region, but it is one of the most examples that add to the direction in which governance in the Middle East and North Africa will remain at the edge of the sword. For leaders in the region, Assad’s success in retaining power over the past decade also sets a model for how to survive even the worst-case scenario of an all-out popular uprising.

In his view, it is likely that both state and non-state actors will see something in the Syrian example that may be useful to them in the future.

He says that, for example, Hezbollah in Lebanon has refrained from using its significant power to reshape politics in its favour, fearing a return to civil war. But with the Syrian conflict emerging not as a warning, but as a potential model, Hezbollah may view the use of force as a worthwhile gamble to secure its domestic strength and legitimacy amid Lebanon’s ongoing economic and social crises.

In a region beset by economic crises, sectarian conflict, authoritarian regimes, deep corruption, and ineffective governance, the ruling regimes are using the Syrian civil war not only as a warning, but as a model for confronting the inevitable insurgency.

He believes that this is likely to manifest itself in more publicized violence against protesters, Lebanese activists, and even government institutions. Hezbollah could miscalculate, kill the wrong person, or practice violence in public in a way that would reignite a frightening sectarian conflict.

And in Iraq, Iranian-backed militias will be encouraged to stick to the violent tactics they have already used to break up protests against them. These militias may, during future security or political crises, tend to return to the ethnic cleansing that was last seen in Iraq during the height of the sectarian conflict in Iraq in 2006-2007, after seeing the success achieved by “Assad” in using such tactics to maintain his control in Syria.

He states that Iran itself also faces frequent disturbances, mostly from the Arab minority, but sometimes from a wide spectrum of Iran’s population as well. The country witnessed some of the largest nationwide protests in 2019-2020. Iran usually uses force to suppress these uprisings. But taking the Syrian example into account, Tehran may be willing to resort to more scorched-earth tactics, especially against its Arab population, to firmly suppress the challenges to its rule.

In addition, the civil war in Syria, according to the author, will prove the validity of Iran’s hard-line foreign policy, and herald more military interventions abroad in favor of Tehran’s ideological allies.

But he maintains that even US allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will see worthy lessons from Syria. For example, there remains a huge gap between US values ​​and policies despite repeated pledges by presidents and various laws designed to change this.

The slow normalization in Syria portends a return to old patterns of governance and the continuation of the war cycle as a result of not addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa

As long as these countries are of strategic value to the United States, he says, they can also be assured that Washington will take limited, and possibly ineffective, action against them if they engage in a widespread suppression of popular dissent. This could end the post-Cold War uncertainty created by the United States’ assertion of allies’ adherence to its own human rights standards, enabling states to return to repressive tactics without jeopardizing their relations with Washington.

He asserts that if U.S. allies are sanctioned for such domestic behavior, they will also look to Syria as evidence that if they can absorb a first strike, the enforcement of those sanctions will eventually wear off.

The writer concludes by saying that the Syrian model shows that tyranny has emerged victorious in the Middle East. The slow normalization in Syria portends a return to old patterns of governance and the continuation of the war cycle as a result of not addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

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