When it comes to the three-year old civil war in Syria, everyone knows how complicated the opposition front is. But in terms of the regime forces, there is only one personality that counts: Assad. So will the fighting in Syria end if Assad goes?
Subconsciously simplifying matters that are hard to understand and making generalizations is part of human nature. Generalizations may gradually become a fog that shrouds the truth. We see a similar example with the Syrian forces. The instances we have seen since the start of the search for democracy known as the Arab Spring have given many people the impression a similar path will be taken in all countries. However, the Bin Ali regime in Tunisia, the Mubarak regime in Egypt, the Salih regime in Yemen and the Gaddafi regime in Libya all had one thing in common; those regimes were systems in which the state was run by the initiative of a single dictator, and change was possible the moment that dictator was either overthrown or agreed to step down.
The Syrian regime, however, has for decades had a different nature. The Syrian regime is based on the Ba’ath ideology that has a much wider influence and there is a substantial constituency among minorities resisting the decline of the Ba’ath ideology both inside and outside Syria. Militant leftist guerrilla groups, Ba’ath Party members and Middle East representatives of the Shanghai Block constantly provide ideological nourishment for that base. The Ba’ath ideology and the power of the Ba’ath base far exceed Assad’s own personal power. The Ba’ath Party was in charge of Syria for 20 years even before Hafez Assad’s 30-year reign; Ba’ath networks are more powerful than all the religious communities and tribes in Syria. The ideology of the regime has so infiltrated ordinary people that it may be easily said to deeply impact on everything in the country. As the Shabbiha organization founded by Hafez Assad carries out mass murders with its about 10,000 recruits on the one hand, its structure also makes it easily deniable by the regime. The struggle we are witnessing in Syria today is not one of the Syrian Ba’ath against the opposition, but one between the opposition and Russia, China and Iran, all of whom wish to keep Ba’ath ideology alive in a country in which innocent civilians are paying the price.
It has always been easy for dictatorships run with a single mindset to be overthrown in uprisings; we saw an example of this in both Nicaragua and El Salvador. Nicaragua, led by Anastasio Somoza, fell to uprisings in 1979, while the same thing did not happen in neighboring El Salvador, in which communist foundations were not so widely spread; the ruling junta put up strong resistance to the opposition. More than 70,000 people lost their lives in the bloody 12-year civil war. When the fighting finally came to an end with a peace agreement signed by the government and the opposition in 1992, El Salvador was unrecognizable, in the same way that Syria is now.
The 15-year long Lebanese civil war which cost some 200,000 lives is an example of failure to come to terms on an ideological basis and fighting that grew ever worse for ideological reasons: Indeed, it came to an end, not when the different sides came to an agreement, but with the American move into Beirut.
So how can the Ba’ath regime that is active in many Middle Eastern Arab countries, with its pan-Arab ideology of forging one Arab nation out of the many Arab states in the region and spreading socialist ideas, change? Ba’athist ideology, which combines Pan-Arabism with communism, is based on materialist philosophy, and systematic, powerful, rational and faith-based activity is needed to get rid of it. The elimination of Ba’ath ideology, which found room to expand in the vacuum that formed in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and that spread rapidly under colonialist regimes, requires peaceful means, not guns and rockets. Bashar Assad’s presence at the head of the Syrian state is purely symbolic. The events taking place in Syria are nothing more than the commands of the Syrian Ba’ath secret state being obeyed. Assad is arguably – and ironically – a prisoner of the Ba’ath communist secret state and therefore Assad simply throwing in the towel and stepping down will not solve the problem.
The failure to attach importance to the solution that can bring about this definitive result is nothing short of breathtaking; it seems everyone involved refuses to listen to the clearest and most definitive solution to the turmoil that arises when looked at rationally and honestly. The idea of anti-communist education is one that has been put before them already formed, a path to a solution that is both valuable and highly important. It is the summit of intellectual dishonesty not to use such a path to a solution, to stand in the face of such a powerful idea and then to give the impression of seeking a solution through weak and failed tactics and political maneuverings.
Adnan Oktar’s article on Arab Times