Bashar El Assad and Legitimacy, Updated

One must recognise that Bashar El Assad is still, after four months of unrest, hugely popular in Syria. This is a fact, not an Al-Jazeera fabricated story. This is the fourth pro regime rally in Syria since March. The Syrian revolution 2011 has never been able to rally as much.

If one adds to this three other facts:

1. The hijacking of the Syrian Revolution 2011 by USrael and the Muslim Brotherhood;
2. The first USrael influence free government in Lebanon since years. The Lebanese government has been chosen by a majority of Lebanese who want to break free from USrael's influence and who wouldn't certainly like to see this influence resurrect in Syria with the toppling of the Assad regime;
3. The Syrian Revolution 2011 inability to present a united front against the Assad regime;

It is unlikely that we will see any change in the balance of support for the regime and the revolution 2011, from internal and external actors, any time soon. The balance might even shift in favour of the regime.

It is fair to say that right now Bashar El Assad still has the legitimacy of the majority of Syrians and there is no reason for this fact to change anytime soon. Also, people who are trumpeting a change in the fortunes of the regime through the faltering of the Syrian economy are undermining their own chances of success by overlooking the fact that putting extreme pressure on the Syrian economy can also eliminate the possibility of a successful and peaceful transition of power through the collapse of Syrian institutions and therefore make less likely a change in the current support for the regime from China and Russia which is based on the refusal of an Iraq like upheaval in Syria.

But the most important fact that is overlooked right now is, ironically, the support for the Assad regime in Lebanon across all sects, a support made possible by the overt enmity of March 14 toward Bashar El Assad and the little popularity this movement has right now in Lebanon (note that the recent support for the 'Syrian people' from Hariri masks a long history of abuse and killing of Syrian workers by Hariri's and March 14th militia in Lebanon).


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Anonymous said...

I used to like your blog. I no longer do. I don't understand why you're so keen on defending this criminal regime.

Sophia said...


I am not defending a criminal regime. I am stating facts. I do recognise that this regime has done horrible things but it is a fact that its alternative now is unsavoury.

Right now, with the neocon agenda in the region still very strong, as people of the middle east, we are faced with some dark choices and we have to recognise what is in the interest of the people of the region. The Iraq war was and still a reminder of the dark choices we have.

Syrian Commando said...

Good riddance Anonymous israeli. Why don't you go defend your criminals elsewhere.


They've given up on "revolution" now and they intend to burn the country down. The stories coming out of Homs made me cry. It's beginning to sound like Lebanon.

Sophia said...


Is there a credible source to know what is going on in Homs?

SC, Anonymous,

The Syrian revolution 2011 is ready for everything. One of them is ti kill a 'million' for freedom as they said. The scorched earth policy is also a mean but they are not making friends for the revolution inside Syria. This tells me that there aren't any democratic goals to the Syrian revolution 2011 because if you have democratic goals you try to convince rather than terrorise. It is fair to say that their goal is just removing Assad. But is removing Assad in itself a democratic goal?

SyrianCommando said...

I'm working off word of mouth and HNN but I try not to spread any rumours.


Sophia said...


Yes I read some of your twitter feeds on this.


William Scott Scherk said...

Sophia, the celebrations of the 11 year Assad anniversary were large, spectacular and looked like fun for the participants -- very well staged, with likely support from all official media and organs. A fun and exuberant celebration that mixed general patriotism and support for the status quo or even support for the Bashar-led reform project.

I don't know how one would accurately estimate the popularity of Assad.

That said, you acknowledge that assembling large crowds in Damascus is a difficulty. No opposition demonstration of any kind has been issued a permit, thus making any but state-sanctioned demonstrations illegal.

I am sure your knowledge of Syria is much deeper and broader than mine, and that you are confident in your observations. I only ask you to consider the obstacles to the kind of demonstration you correctly not have not happened.

I don't think anyone would be afraid to attend an offical demonstration, but I ask myself how much fear and trepidation attends any kind of opposition rally. I find it hard to make a fair comparison myself without factoring in these variables . . .

If you know what I mean. :-)

I sure miss you at SC -- the last week has been a festival of ugly sectarian rumour-mongering and communal hatred.

BTW, did you read either of the two recent articles from Pierre Piccinin?

Also, when you use the term Revolution 2011, do you mean just the street protests and other public actions, or do you include such indepedents as Dalila, Kilo, Hussein and so on? When you write that "there aren't any democratic goals" in the revolution, are you being fair to these longstanding dissidents?

Another thing I try to factor in to analyses are the fact that there is at present no legal way for Dalila et al to distribute any plans, or to appear on Syrian mass media.

Finally (he said!), did you note the speeches and comments of Tizini at the Consultative Meeting?

Sophia said...


Do I feel some irony in your comment? Just kidding...

First, answer to a technicality:

"Also, when you use the term Revolution 2011, do you mean just the street protests and other public actions, or do you include such indepedents as Dalila, Kilo, Hussein and so on?"

I do not include KIlo and others by using the term 'Syrian revolution 2011'. These old revolutionaries are merely watching what is going on. This answer the democracy question also because the people who are in the streets now (not like in the beginning of the protests) are merely answering to incitment from external actors. What happened in Homs is a proof.

Second: I did not write about the difficulty to protest in Damascus and the staging factor in the pro-regime manifestation because even if you factor them, the pro regime manifestations are still relatively huge. These factors cannot account alone for the numerical discrepancy between anti and pro regime rallies.

I did not read Piccinin but everybody knows that protesters are lying about what is happening in Syria. One manifestation of this baltant lying is the total tally of deaths. For two months now we have been hearing that this total is 1400, so how come daily deaths are not adding up? So either they lied about the total tally 2 months ago or they are lying about daily deaths. My busband and I have a niece who left Damascus this week and I did not want to mention her for security reasons. She was tudying Arabic for the last six months there. She was able to leave twice to visit her parents. She was regularly briefed by her embassy but she never left threatened living there. She ven came with a Syrian Acquaintance to see us when we were in Beyrouth on a day trip and told us about normal life in Damascus. The problem with the Syrian revolution 2011 is that thye lost it by lying, they are even lying more than the regime.

As about Tazini, I think the security state is a problem but I don't think people are still in the street to protest the security state now. It must have been the equation for the first weeks or so.

I think what is going on in Syria right now is driven by people who want to destabilise the state.

William Scott Scherk said...

Sophia, no, not ironic at all. We disagree on several points, which is fine.

I am skeptical of claims and counterclaims coming from Syria, and I just wanted to point out what I think about and how I approach these issues.

Is it possible to discuss events in a framework that suggests all reports of security/mukhabarat/militia violence against civilians are lies?

I have read dozens of comments that suggest the HRW reports and the ICG analysis are utter and complete lies, all 'witnesses' are liars, all corroboration are fake, all videos from the streets are fabricated . . . and so on.

I get no traction with that.

I wonder sometimes what would happen in some of those commenters' minds if they accepted even one single present report of armed government agents shooting to kill unarmed protestors.

If even one of the reports were true, and accepted as true, what would that do to their conception of events? I really do not know . . .

(in Egypt the former President will be on trial August 3 to face charges that he ordered 'shoot to kill.' Scores of the upper security establishment also face these charges.

If true, if true, if proven -- I wonder if a Syrian reform/Assad supporter could entertain the possibility that similar orders had been given inside the various hierarchies and field commands of the many branches of intelligence, security and government-armed militias.

I certainly do not mean to suggest that you are this implacable -- I do not believe that you would confidently assert that no security forces used the same tactics as launched the Egyptian revolt.

Here is what I will put to you, and I do not expect an answer -- just something to consider: if it happened that you were in a place of unrest, in a funeral procession or observing, and you personally experienced government forces opening live fire on demonstrators, would you accept that as reality?

To understand the cadre of my question, I refer you to the HRW report's section on Dera'a. To accept that all the witnesses (as in extrajudicial executions in the stadium) are lying, in every instance -- I am not sure I can do that.

Have you trudged through that report?

Anyway, take heart, be safe, and please accept my best wishes for you and your family.

Sophia said...


I don't know what to say. I have never negated the fact that protesters were killed by security personnel. And I think the killing was more obvious in Der'aa. But should this fact prevent me from pointing at the protesters lies? No. And do protesters' lies negate that some of them were killed by security ? No.

Your argument makes me really uncomfortbale since you seem to consider that disbelief in protesters' stories do not fit with a recognition that some of them were martyred by security.
We have here two separate facts that exist at the same time and pointing at one does not entail that we negate the other.

Since March 29th 2006