Is there tussle within the Assad family? |
Arab News - 12 June, 2012
Author: Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
An informed source believes that the two massacres in Syria during the past two weeks were committed under the knowledge of the army, its protection and probably its participation.
These massacres indicated that Assad had lost power over the security and military forces. The two massacres drove the world to adopt a stricter stance against the Syrian regime. Syrian embassies in many countries of the world closed down. Several governments moved to provide military and material support to the freedom fighters.
The massacres also embarrassed Assad's allies who, unable to acquit him of being responsible, called for neutral investigations. In both occasions, Assad was not able to set the stage beforehand, as has been his habit. Every crime is committed by his forces and has a ready-made scenario of blaming the opposition. During the first massacre in Houla, however, the UN monitors arrived to see the forces of the regime pounding the ill-fated town and to find evidence incriminating the regime.
This drove the UN secretary-general to give up his usual reserve and to openly accuse the regime of committing the crime. He said the regime had lost its legitimacy. In the second massacre in Hama, the regime was quick to prevent the UN monitors from visiting the site until a few days later to prepare the place and their story.
This does not mean that the head of the regime is innocent of the massacres. The massacres, rather, indicate a new situation in which the other leaders are no longer obeying the president or coordinating with him. Bashar Assad’s brother, Mahir, may be running the country now and has full command.
What does this new development say if it is true?
It looks like a coup d’état inside the regime, which will ultimately culminate in dismissing Assad and bringing in Mahir. Mahir is clear in his actions and attitudes. He is not keeping it a secret that the regime is at an open war against the majority of the Syrian people. On the other hand, Assad is always assuming the innocent face of the regime. He played this role throughout his 12 years of rule. He was involved in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri and 20 other leading Lebanese politicians. Regardless, he had always put the face of an innocent and civilized man. He had always hidden his enmity to Hariri and half of the leaders of Lebanon. This enmity came to the surface only once through a story that was believed to be correct. The story says that during a meeting in Damascus one day, Assad openly threatened Hariri that he would kill him. When he returned to Beirut, Hariri revealed this secret to a number of his close aides. This is Assad's true personality, which he is always keen to hide, appearing as the victim of a foreign conspiracy aimed at holding his regime responsible for murder cases. Many people, however, did not believe in his appearances.
When the first signs of the revolution appeared, the same attitude was repeated. He met with a Turkish delegation that said Assad had promised them to make changes and reforms. The members of the delegation soon discovered that he was a liar. A GCC official said he visited Assad last March after the capture and torturing of a number of children from Deraa, which ignited unrest and caused demonstrations in the city.
The official said he and the members of the delegation accompanying him advised Assad, directly and openly, to try those who committed the crimes in Deraa torturing the children and threatening their parents. He said they proposed to Assad to visit the town to appease the residents. The official said Assad had promised them to do so, but instead he increased his forces and continued his actions and accused the Islamic fundamentalists of committing these crimes.
Probably the Assad family is not in a position to allow liquidation of its members, but the sure thing is that the management of the crisis is no longer in the presidential palace. The reports and stories being made in Damascus are conflicting and confusing. It is obvious that the presidency wants a security solution but prefers to conceal any trace of its crimes and blames the other party for them. The commanders of the army under the leadership of Mahir, on the other hand, want to publicize these actions to frighten the people and crush the revolution. The army filmed hundreds of videos showing elements of the army torturing people. There is a film that shows a tank running over a civilian. The tank commander then looks at the camera to show his face, clearly mocking the crime he has just committed.