Realists yawned and useful idiots hoped.
That’s the best way to describe the third speechÂ deliveredÂ by Assad today, which, if I had to guess, was the result of some lazy speech writer who simply edited the first two speeches to produce a third. The best part about it is the realization, when we observe Assad’s body language, that the Assad regime is taking what seems like the final gulps from a leaking oxygen tank. No better way to describe what may be his final speech if one has to consider the bravery he demonstrated in massacring women, children, and unarmed demonstrators in retrospect with how often he tookÂ responsibilityÂ for his actions even though he reluctantly admitted innocent people were killed.
It was one of many inconsequential gestures as the battle for the soul of Syria moves to a heightened regional fear Syria may become the battleground for a rivalry between Turkey and Iran the way Syria made Lebanon the ground for its rivalry against Israel; with one minor exception: Syrians are battling their own government. This opens the door ajar for many possibilities some of which will re-balance the power in the region in favor of reason and wisdom instead of violence and terror.
The beginning of a new reality on the ground where Assad is but a small pawn ofÂ inconvenienceÂ is emerging quickly. On one side, Turkey is flexing its big muscles as it vies for a role its natural borders with Syria cannot avoid and, on the other side, is Iran caught between aggressively pursuing itsÂ undergroundÂ machine of terror in Syria and therefore look like the extremist sectarian state it has become under its rigid present leadership or retreat and leave Assad to his fate thus giving Turkey a boost many expect to be the beginning of the decline of the Mullahs. This scenario strips Assad of the most important card that kept his regime afloat: The regime is no longer master of its own destiny and all the chaos the Assads disseminated for 41 years to highlight the regime’s central importance suddenly dissipates in favor of two regional superpowers creating a new balance. Both non-Arabic speaking, which has consequences for Arab nationalism.
Assad will attempt, in the next weeks, to ignite a civil war in Lebanon most likely in the Tripoli region where Sunnis and Alawis have battled each other recently in the hope he can divert the attention away from his killing fields in Syria; and at the same time get other countries start their own civil wars. His aim is to simply create more violence and more killing. Whatever it takes to keep his regime afloat, even if that means the whole region becomes one big erupting volcano.
When a fire is about to die, itsÂ smolderingÂ ashes may look harmless but touch them and you will burn. That’s how Assad looks like today. Just a heap of dark ashes dying slowly.