We are witnessing the undoing of the Baath regime for the second time in the last decade. The first Baath regime dissolved at a great cost to the Iraqi people and the region. That it was removed through U.S. occupation came at a cost more than its value. These costs are still being paid and will continue to be paid in the long run. The second Baath regime, Saddam’s neighbor and ideological relative, is taking its last breaths. The best evidence for all this is that even Baath apologists have started to talk about what is to come more than what is happening today.
It is necessary to examine carefully what Bashar al-Assad apologists who repeatedly claimed that the Baath regime was there to stay, had public support of around 55-60 percent of the population and that nothing in fact was happening in Syria are saying today. Those who insisted that al-Assad was there to stay for a long time, after a bomb went off in Damascus, moved onto the second propaganda phase. Now we are to hear repeatedly how Syria shall be divided in the post-al-Assad era. However, an elementary level of historical, political economy, demographical, geographical and political knowledge will reveal just how shallow these fear-inducing analyses really are.
If these observers had a sense of history, they would have known that these “statelets” were but a set of still-born projects that the West conceived over the past century. With a basic idea of political economy, they would know that Syria barely managed to support itself let alone a number of polities. Demography would have informed them what both population density and a dispersion of different groups signified. According to geography, they would have seen that the Syrian ethnic-sectarian distribution was a prime number. Finally, an elementary skill in political interpretation would have helped them establish that separation was a scenario undesirable to all cost-paying actors at home and abroad.
But of course, one is not to expect any such basic and primitive capacity from these analysts. After all, we are talking about people that go around disseminating the embarrassing idea that the Baath regime could survive in the region’s new atmosphere. We do not expect these anachronistic actors to offer us fair and ethical observations. Now is high time for the al-Assad apologists’ provocations.
The slightest conflict will lead them to construct sectarian states. They are going to create a civil war from tensions in Lebanon. An overdue Kurdish nationalism’s unconscious steps shall lead them to contemplate a Kurdistan. Looking at a handful of people taking over the border region, they will go ahead and invent a Salafi state. Based on the childish analysis that “Turkey can or cannot intervene,” they will claim that Turkey– involved in almost every part of Syria – is really a meaningless, powerless actor. They shall argue that Iran is such a great and mighty power if Israel rushes to the Baath regime’s aid and plays rockets with Hizbullah. The outcome, however, remains the same: the Baath regime that slew tens of thousands of people is not coming back!