Homs is a spoke city that straddles three major strongholds the Assad regime cannot survive if it cannot control. The Mediterranean coast home to the Alawites of Syria, the road from the coast to Damascus, and the borders to Hezbollah’s Bekaa valley of Lebanon. Hence, the broken Assad government on display in Homs cannot be missed.
After 47 suicide attacks on its Alawite civilians and military perimeters, following the ethnic cleansing of its Sunni population, its residents have had enough. They have been demanding change to Homs political and security leadership, which Damascus finally obliged them. Instead of Major General Louay Maala, chairman of the security committee, Assad replaced him with Major General Jamal Suleiman, one of his cousins.
According to Facebook comments by the Alawite citizens of Homs, Maala was known for his treachery because he failed to protect the city with a record of 47 suicide attacks against his own citizens, and Jamal Suleiman is known for his corruption, which many believe will be subject to pay-offs to turn a blind eye to acts of terror. Even though Homs is the most important spoke in Assad’s wheel to control the regions he needs to control, Homs is also home to a dysfunctional system of government courtesy of the Assad regime. Putin, are you paying attention?
In the old days, prior to the war, the Alawites overlooked corruption practices carried by their own against everyone. It was like an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn submitting to the Italian Mafia. People complained but they lived with the system.
In today’s environments, such patience cannot last because corruption is touching lives and not just pockets. Corruption of high officials also encourages suicide attacks when organizations like ISIS or others know that a payment to one military officer or another can result in massive deaths. Homs suffered 47 attacks against its citizens because of the corruption so prevalent in Syrian society and whose practice today yields death and destruction.
There is more. According to al-Souria.net website, which originally published an article on the subject, the Homs residents are asking for a major clean-up of all heads of organizations securing Homs. As an example is Mosleh al-Hassan who runs the local electricity company. Residents noticed that when electricity is rationed, the district where al-Hassan resides enjoys around the clock electrical power. The electricity is never off in that district.
Homs is a microcosm of how the Assad government operated prior to the war. The same practices are generating anger and opposition to the Assad government in times of war because they are leading to actual death. The broken Assad government on display in Homs is reason to expect Assad to lose at the end from its internal own bleeding.
Jamal Suleiman is one of Assad’s cousins. This means corruption is his number one priority as is the case with every Assad cousin. Our bet the Alawites complaining about his corruption will have to endure another year of much death at the hands of suicide bombers who are able to slip through Homs security net by paying for them.
Since corruption is a disease that has no cure, we are betting the rebels will take full advantage of this gaping loophole in the Assad government. The Alawites of Homs better brace for more attacks. They will be coming.