The latest Assad speech has been analyzed for its content but its weakness is less obvious, especially within the context of regime change.
To the west in general, Assad accused it of conspiratorial aims. A routine many have become familiar with even though it is refuted by every fact on the ground except in helping the Syrian people defend themselves peacefully. His reliance on a Russian Navy docking in his own backyard in Tartous aims at beefing his confidence and defending his rule from any outside ambitious purposes.
To the appeasers, Assad’s tune parallels the timeless vilipendency he holds against those who speak to him from a position of weakness. These policy makers are no closer to their goals today than in years past. In fact, adopting a policy of appeasement has a major flaw totally ignored by the appeasers in that it provides precious time for the target to regroup and defend, which inevitably weakens the appeasers themselves as witnessed today by Assad’s arrogance.
To the Arab League, he had stern words and veiled warnings; but he also reinforced the notion long assumed by his father to be the solution for stability and to resolving the rift clearly developing between the two Muslim faiths even though his position as a strategic ally of Iran is unquestionable. But by playing on his Arabism, he is attempting to fog the sectarian identity with roots embedded in the Shia faith.
To the Syrian opposition, he has marked his territory clearly by adopting a wolf-like tactic of urinating to establish his supremacy. But in this speech, he also urinated, indirectly, on the Syrian opposition represented by the Syrian National Council of Birhan Ghalioun and the National Coordinating Committees of Haytham Man’aa. Both organizations have been discredited immensely in the Syrian street, which made their usefulness to Assad worse than marginal.
Mana’a is so disappointed not to share power with Assad, he has begun a media campaign of personal attacks against him; but to no avail, Syrians have cast their votes in an assertive way against both organizations.
However, Assad has no answers yet to the popularity of the Free Syrian Army except through the usual violence, which, in this instance, is self-defeating because the more he terrorizes Syrians demonstrating against his rule, the more defections are taking place. I do not see any solution in the horizon for Assad to protect himself from the FSA and Turkey holds an important card in providing refuge to its leadership.
Logically, the road to Damascus today goes through the FSA.
Whether this potent asset will be utilized to support a more organic Syrian opposition accepted by the Syrian street to pressure Assad from within or be also cast aside is a question with no answers yet.
One thing for sure, relying on the Arab League to determine what is best for the region is no different than asking the fox to guard the hen house. The role of its Gulf members should be limited to what they do best: Funding.