Syria’s dictator is under siege and could fall. Who stands most to benefit?
Since inheriting his father’s 30-year old rule of Syria in 2000, President Bashar Assad has maintained a strong grip on power. But things have changed since the Arab Spring and the consequent civil war in his country.
Syria’s civil war has raged for over four years now, and the country is engulfed in suffering. More than 200,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations. Tallying up the dead got so bad that in 2013, an exasperated UN momentarily gave up counting. Nearly 8 million people have been displaced from their homes. Four million have fled to other countries.
The economic impact of the war has been just as disastrous: 80 percent of Syria’s population is poor, and 50 percent is unemployed. Over half of the public hospitals in Syria have been damaged, and most of the doctors have fled. In the four years of the Syrian civil war, human development regressed four decades. Stunningly, life expectancy in the country has dropped by 20 years.
Assad is also known for attacking enemy combatants and civilians alike with chemical weapons. Assad’s use of chemical weapons such as chlorine was considered by United States and other nations a redline beyond which sterner measures would be taken to oust Assad.
People have for years predicted Assad’s fall, but Syria’s dictator has hung on to power. Propped up by the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, the Assad regime has maintained relatively firm control of Syria.
That is, until now.
Today, Assad contends with a handful of violent, dangerous extremist groups. Pressure is mounting on him from at least four militant groups: the Southern Front, backed by the United States and Jordan; the Army of Conquest, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar; the al-Nusra Front, backed by al Qaeda; and the Islamic State.
Right now, the Islamic State controls half of the country—35,000 square miles.
“Assad already doesn’t rule his county, except for a few undersized, beleaguered enclaves whose prospects for survival are steadily diminishing,” the Jerusalem Post wrote on June 3. Also diminishing is Russia’s traditional support for the Assad regime, the Post reported. The Kremlin is reportedly withdrawing most of its advisers from Syria—a possible sign of Russia’s diminishing confidence in Assad’s future.
“Based on current trend lines,” said a U.S. intelligence official, “it is time to start thinking about a post-Assad Syria.”
What will happen to this beleaguered nation after Assad is gone?
Syria has been Iran’s most important ally in the region. Syria is key to Iran extending its reach in the Middle East, particularly into Lebanon, through Hezbollah. Analysts consider Syria, Iraq and even Lebanon as part of a “Shiite Crescent” dominated and controlled by Iran.
If Bashar Assad falls, then Iran’s influence in drops dramatically.
But there is something else Mr. Flurry mentioned that is yet to become so apparent: Germany’s role in this process. He wrote:
One of Germany’s primary objectives in this region is to develop an axis with Middle Eastern states that oppose Iran. Germany has been stepping up its political involvement and its financial and military investment in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. It has formed solid trade relationships with virtually all these countries, covering many industries from telecommunications to the military.
For Germany, Syria’s revolution isn’t about a humanitarian crisis at all. It’s about geopolitics and how Berlin can aggressively advance its strategic interests in the Middle East!
As you continue watching the impending demise of Bashar Assad, watch this trend of Germany moving deeper into the region to check Iran.
Already, Germany has signed comprehensive military deals with Algeria, and it operates a personnel carrier plant there.
German armaments industries sell weapons to Egypt and Arabian Peninsula nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, Germany operates a machine gun factory in Saudi Arabia.
There are German soldiers and police stationed in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Germany also has military personnel in Djibouti and Somalia.
In the Arabia Sea, Germany has a frigate, maritime surveillance planes and troops.
German soldiers in Afghanistan make up the biggest contingent of troops after the United States and Britain. German operates an airbase in Uzbekistan and anti-aircraft missile batteries in Turkey.
By virtue of its influence in the EU, Germany basically has control over the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. German patrol boats roam the coast of Lebanon, and there are even German soldiers on the ground in Lebanon.
Germany is getting so involved in the Middle East because it recognizes the threat posed by Iran’s “Shiite Crescent.” It is preparing for a whirlwind of destruction.
Watch for Iran to lose its hold in Syria. Expect the Syrian-Iran alliance to break. Above all, watch to see if Germany doesn’t make a strong move to pick up the pieces—and actually use Syria as a tool to fight Iran. ▪
Full article: An Important Trend to Watch as Assad’s Rule Weakens in Syria (The Trumpet)