Syria has lurched forward with most of the currents favoring the Rebel forces in their efforts to dethrone dictator President Bashir Assad. The struggle has been harshest on the Syrian people with tens of thousands killed, hundreds of thousands injured to various degrees and countless more fleeing into exile in neighboring countries. The latest crisis has been the increased suspicions that the Syrian forces still loyal to Assad are preparing the precursors for combination into Sarin Gas and other nerve agents known to be part of the Syrian arsenal. This has made some, myself included, even more nervous and suspecting that Assad will order a last ditch attempt to end the revolution against his rule with one coordinated and extensive lethal use of his chemical weapons. Statements from Assad spokespeople accusing the rebels of preparing to use chemical weapons due to their capture of a chemical plant outside Aleppo which held stores of Chlorine gas were made as a diversion and possible smoke screen to place blame elsewhere when Assad launches his chemical weapons. These spokespeople have also accused the United States and their allies of fomenting lies in order to construct a case allowing their intervention to assist in a rebel victory. Meanwhile, there has been a slow and steady parade of high Syrian officials who have deserted Assad, each bringing with them information and accusations of atrocities committed by the Assad forces.
The question which should be asked now and continue to be asked into the foreseeable future is who will be the benefactor and take control in Syria should Assad be brought down. Once the answer to this question has been narrowed to a short list of the likely successors, the Western powers should decide which they favor and work to weaken the others more so than they should visibly assist the preferred choice. The reason is because it is far more likely that actions taken to weaken some of the forces who will be vying for power can be done more covertly and anonymously than actions taken in support of one preferred entity. Recent revelation show a divided set of rebel forces with diverse leadership. Some of these forces are led by suspected and known terror groups while the main faction preferred by the Western allies has a divided leadership which has already fractured and had to be reassembled. The strongest forces in Syria opposing Assad remain the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda aligned groups. There is little to no possibility that the fall of Assad will produce anything resembling a liberal democracy even as much as the current leadership in Tunisia. Even Egypt will prove to have come closer to a functioning democracy that will the new Syria which is saying something since Egypt is more likely to become a theocracy led by whomever the Muslim Brotherhood prefers lead in their name than an honest democratic country with real choices to lead and elections whose results are known months before they are held. Tunisia at least has yet to fall completely under the control of Islamic euphemists though there have been many signs that these forces have sufficient numbers to begin to slowly build and bring about the eventual imposition of Sharia. Egypt, meanwhile, has raced so quickly towards the implementation of Sharia that should the new Egyptian Constitution be vote upon and ratified on December 15, 2012, then they will have taken steps that would actually place them ahead of Turkey where Prime Minister Erdogan has been working diligently and with great care over going on a decade to install an Islamist governance based on, if not actually under, Sharia.
Just a quick note about upcoming challenges and changes which will be spawned as the Arab Winter continues to spread its cold fingers over more of the Arab and Muslim worlds. The slow building pressures in Jordan are still gaining strength but are facing a relatively popular ruler in King Abdullah II. Eventually the King’s popularity will wane and the Palestinians, which make up 80% of the Jordanian population, will have been coopted by the same Palestinian terror groups that today menace Israel. Yemen is still in a state of siege between the forces in the south who are part of al-Qaeda and separatists in the north. Kuwait has also been experiencing distress and conflicts between the Sunni rulers and the Shiite majority population. A similar situation still exists in Bahrain despite the efforts by Saudi Arabia which put down the initial revolt almost two years ago in March 2011. All of the turmoil in the Arabian Peninsula has one main objective, the eventual gem and the really big prize, Saudi Arabia. As well as the oil fields, Saudi Arabia also possesses the grandest prize of all, Mecca and Medina, the two actual holy cities of Islam. The question mark is whether Lebanon will remain under Hezballah, and thus Iranian, control or will it fall to the Muslim Brotherhood should they prove victorious in the post-Assad scrum once Assad falls.
Beyond the Cusp