Insurgent Campaign Strikes Assad's Image Of Stability Guarantor
Israel National News will never be accused of acting as Bashar al-Assad's lawyer.
However, today's Damascus bombing, targeting the regime's intelligence headquarters, was not perpetrated by the regime in an attempt to garner international sympathy.
Such a view was propounded by Samir Nashar of the opposition Syrian National Council based in Turkey "This is the only way for the regime to claim that what is happening in Syria is the work of terrorist gangs and that Al-Qaeda is expanding its presence in Syria,"
Once the devastation had occurred, the attempt to play for sympathy represented a consolation prize for the regime and its allies scurried to make the best of a bad business.
The Russian ambassador in Lebanon, Alexander Zapyskin, told the Hizbullah al-Manar TV station that the blast essentially represented the frustration of foreign powers and armed groups over the stability that has been achieved in Syria.
Not to be outdone, the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon also commented in the same vein: "Whenever the Syrian people and leadership make a success in overcoming obstacles to restore stability, we witness a resort to armament, blasts and terrorist acts against the Syrians." However, even the United States found the bombing "reprehensible and unacceptable".
World sympathy is a factor, but far from a decisive factor in Syria. When Assad's politically loyal brigades journeyed from city to city creating a swath of death and destruction, sympathy was mobilized on behalf of the insurgents. However, once that sympathy did not find an outlet, as in Libya and the Western countries ruled out armed intervention empathy gave way to a sense of futility and passiveness.
Therefore, the Syrian insurgents, who most assuredly do command outside backing and base camps outside of Syria, have resorted to the classic strategy of terror. They have succeeded in humiliating the regime by mounting a challenge to it in its very heart, the security headquarters in Damascus.
As in the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the Taliban attacks on Kabul and the jihad - the attacks in Baghdad's Green zone, the objective is to demonstrate that the regime has lost its power to intimidate since it cannot even defend core assets. This strategy is particularly effective against the Baath regime in Syria.
This regime governs in the style of Thomas Hobbes. It enjoys a mandate for arbitrariness and cruelty due to its proclaimed ability to protect its subjects (a more appropriate term than citizen in Syria) from violent death.
Death would be produced by the instability that would ensue if the Assad regime were toppled. Hobbes following his own logic declared that loyalty to the ruler lapsed if he failed to secure the life of his subjects and this would allow them to seek an alternative ruler to defend them.
If Assad cannot protect the people who inhabit his own capital, he has lost his right to rule, particularly as his regime is not predicated on any other legitimacy: Hereditary rule, popularly elected leader war hero, economic wizard etc. The insurgents will maintain a campaign to demonstrate that even under Assad life is, in Hobbes' words ...is "nasty brutish and short."