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Syria's quagmire points to eventual foreign intervention

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Similarly, the patronage networks created in the past decades by the minority Alawite rulers now serve as an additional incentive for security personnel and government officials alike to stand by the regime. In this sense, the regime is still strong and internally cohesive, despite some defections from the security and policy offices.

Second, in contrast to the relative unity of the regime, the opposition forces – although having risen in power and status and being able to seriously threaten the regime – still lack strong internal cohesion.

Judging from the little and not always reliable information coming out of Syria, the opposition forces have so far failed to create a truly inter-sectarian coalition (the opposition is mostly Sunni, with other groups – like the Kurds – remaining at the margins, fearing retaliation from the regime). The internal division is not surprising, considering the regime targeted and suppressed political opponents for decades.

Third, despite it’s involvement, the international community – and this definitely also applies to the Arab League – has not been willing to strongly take sides in Syria, as it did in Libya. Short of this type of intervention – which is highly unlikely right now – the future of the revolt seems to depend only on the internal balance of power between the regime and its opponents.

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