The Syrian uprising can be defined as an ongoing, violent internal conflict which can surely be regarded as a part of wider Arab Spring. What started as a public demonstration on 26th January 2011 has turned into a war between the rebels and the government forces. Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad has relentlessly opposed the uprising terming it as a ‘political vendetta’ against his regime. As a consequence, countless civilian lives have been lost and the country has plunged into chaos.
Today, it seems as if the flowers of the Arab Spring were chopped off in Syria even before they could bloom. A melancholic ballad can be heard across the Syrian landscape where streets are strewn with corpses bathed in blood.In this story of undefined violence and destruction, one might recognize Bashar al-Assad’s regime as almost picaresque-ian. Over the past one year or so, Syria has been punctuated by barrages of cannon fire. The ongoing violence between the rebels and government forces have had great impacts on Syria and beyond. The Annan peace plan, deployment of UN monitors and attempted ceasefire have been conceived as ‘peace-building processes’. However, they have been ineffective and have acted only as survival tactics across this ‘strategic terrain’.
I’m afraid, but categorically speaking, the Syrian uprising is a war within. It has been a preconceived notion that the Syrian struggle is a part of the wider Arab spring and is purely against the iron fist rule of Bahar al-Assad. The western media has tried but failed to reflect the true sentiment of the Free Syrian Army and numerous other groups. Syrians are surely skeptical of the outcome. The dismantled Syrian society, economy and polity have been replaced with suffering. It is a double-edged sword where the regime cannot possibly eliminate the rebellious population, and the rebels cannot overthrow the regime. The situation has thus become a disaster in which no one wins.
The conflict has even punctured relations between the Arab league and Syria. The former has suspended Syria’s membership over the government’s response to the crisis. The US along with the EU has condemned the use of violence on protestors and has consequently put sanctions on the Assad regime.
Additional characters have been drawn in the struggle. Syria could be a magnet for religious extremists. The signs of ‘terrorist’ infiltrations are evident as over 70 people in Damascus have been reportedly killed due to a series of mysterious explosions. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued a call to Muslims to make war on Bashar al-Assad. Such indications and instances could give the west all the more reasons to provide lethal assistance to the rebel groups. The ruling regimes of Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting their proxy wars over the backs of Syrian people. The rebel groups are regarded as extensions of Saudi, Qatar, US and Euro policy.
The Syrians I believe have enough means and motives to ouster the Assad regime and are definitely not inclined to see their national quest as a part of wider struggle. The road of peace and reconciliation goes through the valley of violence marred with the blood of countless innocent civilians, journalists and soldiers. In the backdrop of the escalating violence, at least the Annan peace plan could mediate some form of truce and peace between the opposition and the government. The Syrian crisis has severe implications on the international stage. No more can it be defined as a struggle between the Syrians against the ruling regime. For the west and other gulf states, it is now a game of geo-political gains and strategic influence.