As you are reading this, fierce battles are taking place in the capital Damascus, and the reports, while some may be somewhat exaggerated, are very
clear: the rebels of the Free Syria Army are fighting in the very center of the city, are about to be, or already are in control of some of the
headquarters of the once feared intelligence organizations, and it is all taking place minutes away from the presidential palace. By some accounts,
the palace is without residents, as Bashar and his immediate family have already moved to the Alawite Mountains.
Stratfor scan ID:100225
The fall of Damascus, once happening, will not be a nice event to watch on TV. Many nights of long knives will follow, and the violence will be of
proportions unknown hitherto in the modern Middle East.
While the ongoing slaughter on civilians (especially small children) is taking place on a daily basis, Pro-Assad supporters are swarming into various
forums and web pages like ATS or infowars convincing those of a lesser mental capacity, that Bashar is a liberator of the people and the regime is
under siege by nefarious rebels supported by equally nefarious US/Israeli Politicians.
The sad thing though is that the revenge taken by the victorious rebels will be on a huge scale, so the main questions to be asked now are about the
coming days, and what can be done to mitigate the inevitable mayhem. First, we need to mention the people that are likely to suffer most. That being
those Alawites who somehow failed to flee back to the mountains; members of the Ba'th party, including Sunnis, who maintained their loyalty to the
party on the expense of their communal solidarity; members of the business community, who were very slow to change sides; and members of the Christian
community, particularly from Bab Touma, the famous Christian quarter, whose history goes back to the early days of Christianity.
In 1861, Bab Touma experienced a massacre of huge proportions, when thousands were slaughtered. Hopefully, this will not be the case this time.
Shi'ite mosques and shrines in Damascus will also be in the line of fire, and altogether it will not be safe for Shi'ites, whether Iranian or
Lebanese, to stay in Damascus when the chaos will reign supreme. Two other communities, the Kurds and the Druze, who inhabit large neighborhoods in
Damascus, may be spared the wrath of the victorious rebels, and at any rate, unlike the Christians, these are communities which in the past knew how
to defend themselves.
And chaos it will be, with the hope that it will not last for too long, and will be under control as soon as possible. The political leadership of the
rebels, the Syrian National Council, lacks the power to dominate the situation in Damascus, and it seems more likely that the force more capable of
exerting any sort of central authority will be the Free Syria Army, which is not a coherent body but rather a loose coalition of local militias. So,
they too may not be able to do the job. The chaos in Damascus may not be that much different than that which prevailed in Beirut in 1975-6. The
collapse of the regime will unleash a welter of old conflicts, hatreds and loyalties, which were all subjugated for decades under the yoke of the
oppressive regime and will now come to the open.
Strategic Research and Communication Centre
edit on 16-7-2012 by johncarter because: (no reason given)