Syrian Government Beset by Battles and Diplomatic Setbacks –

Perhaps another way to view Syria is not simply as a two-sided contest.  From the inside, Assad is acting rationally within the options he has been given–and inside a regime that from the beginning appears to have chosen a death struggle over any negotiation.

A Russian political analyst with contacts at the Foreign Ministry said that “people sent by the Russian leadership” who had contact with Mr. Assad two weeks ago described a man who has lost all hope of victory or escape.

“His mood is that he will be killed anyway,” Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of a Russian foreign affairs journal and the head of an influential policy group, said in an interview in Moscow, adding that only an “extremely bold” diplomatic proposal could possibly convince Mr. Assad that he could leave power and survive.

“If he will try to go, to leave, to exit, he will be killed by his own people,” Mr. Lukyanov said, speculating that security forces dominated by Mr. Assad’s minority Alawite sect would not let him depart and leave them to face revenge. “If he stays, he will be killed by his opponents. He is in a trap. It is not about Russia or anybody else. It is about his physical survival.”

via Syrian Government Beset by Battles and Diplomatic Setbacks –


2 thoughts on “Syrian Government Beset by Battles and Diplomatic Setbacks –”

  1. As suggested by Cory, we can readily apply rational choice theory to understand what is sustaining this regime under great international pressure (but not enough). There is inherently an extreme incentive for people in the government to maintain their loyalty toward Assad. As a dictator, he can choose source of support by expelling and killing unreliable associates, which increases loot for remaining associates. Remaining associates further receive greater incentive to try to get others expelled to prove their loyalty to Assad. As a result, Assad remains with unquestioned loyalty by his associates. Unexpected problems of international pressure and public insurgency could be, therefore, only encourage Assad to get a better grip of his power. For these reasons, personalist regimes can be most likely brought down with death of the dictator (such as Qaddafi). It is truly a complicated problem since Assad would do anything to secure his physical life using this loyalty he gauged through use of his dictatorship. That being said, I think this theory adds more weight to the fact that military engagement from international community will be extremely vital for the end of this regime. Supporting the rebels won’t be enough.
    Following is the link to an article “What Do We Know about Democratization After Twenty Years?” by Barbara Geddes illustrating this rational choice theory on fragility of regimes.

  2. Looking at how the situation in Syria has changed recently, especially Russia deciding that need to step away from Assad, it is getting more and more difficult to see why they would keep fighting. This article does a good job of showing why Assad and the other government leaders won’t back down now; they don’t have other options that give them a chance to get out alive. Recently there has been talk about offering Assad asylum in another country. The NYT article points out that it is probably Assad’s own people wouldn’t let him leave and make them responsible. I think the international community needs to decide if it would be better to find a way to get Assad away from the country so it is (maybe) easier to let the rebels take over, or if allowing the fighting to continue with Assad leading the government is a better option. It wouldn’t seem like a good thing to allow Assad to get away but it may give the international community the chance to ensure that things in Syria don’t become even worse when the government falls. As the rebels close in on Syria it looks like the fighting is going to become a lot more intense because of what the people in Damascus have to lose.
    It is becoming even more necessary to find a way to diffuse the situation.

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