The West losing in Syria

The United States (US) and the West wait to see clearly who will win and when in Syria. While waiting, however, they lose both in Syria and in the region.

The Syrian revolution is about to finish its second year. This is a long time if we consider the examples of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But it is a short time, if we take atrocities of the Baath regime into consideration. This two-year period has been shaped by the ability to transform and resistance to change of the local, regional and global constituencies of the crisis. As political and military opposition in Syria made some real gains parallel to its transformation, the Baath regime and the regime’s open supporters such as Russia and Iran made pseudo and short-term gains in line with the resistance that they showed against the change. With the resistance they showed against a position change in the Syrian crisis for the last two years, the US and the Western world allowed the Baath regime to shed blood for two years, and caused the Syrian opposition to lower their expectations to the level of “I don’t ask anything of you. It’s enough if you don’t cast your shadow on me.”

Driven by existentialist motives, the Baath oligarchy had desired to retain dominance over the country, wishing “many more 50 years” at the cost of bloodshed. For this reason, from the very first day of the crisis, the regime boldly and clearly considered Syrian opposition, as Bessar Al-Asad put it, “a virus,” attesting his intention to nip it in the bud at the expense of killing hundreds of thousands.

The Syrian opposition; on the other hand, setting out with a demand for reform, continued its adventure as a political movement first and then morphed into an armed revolution. Since the beginning of the revolution movement, “toppling the regime with all its elements” has become the common denominator of all opposition members, except a few pro-regime groups. The organized opposition which was newly formed against the 50-year-old regime transformed and evolved in this process. Both the internal dynamics and developments in the field, and the US with the Western world, became effective in this transformation; for the US and the Western world were constantly asking for transformation from the opposition in order to provide support to them and coming up with excuses. Yet the transformation of the opposition could not avert the Western excuses for passivity.


The US and the West; with all kinds of excuses, avoiding to provide support to the Syrian opposition enough “to change the game”, did not even make small moves in their positions. When they ran out of excuses, the agenda arrived at the red lines of the US and the West. In recent months, the West has seemed more troubled with the Salafi-Islamist armed fronts than the bloodshed in Syria. However, activities of the said fronts spread- and still are spreading – in accord with their positive reputation. The main reason behind such an increase in respectability of these groups is that the Syrian people were abandoned to their fate against the Baath regime. These fronts, who fight well and finance themselves to a degree and who abstain from looting, theft and extrajudicial executions due to their Islamic reference points, continue to heighten their prestige among the people. Ironically though, the US and the West are using these fronts as an excuse in order to maintain their own passive positions; yet by acting passively, they contribute to the fronts’ gaining strength. The US and the West are making a conscientious evaluation for the departure of the “laic oligark” that they know versus a conjectural Al-Qaeda threat.

At this point we have reached, we see two paths. The first is for the regime, for the opposition and for the international actors to maintain their current positions, as the opposition wins the war of attrition in the end. This is a long and bloody path, but unfortunately the actors other than the opposition do not make any investments for any other path. The second path is, by means of changes in the posit

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