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Syrian regime faces final nail in its coffin as France, Britain move to arm rebels

By YAHYA SSEREMBA

The embattled government of Bashar al-Assad of Syria may soon breathe its last if France and Britain carry out their threat of shipping weaponry to the ragtag rebels.

Paris and London have called on the European Union to lift its arms embargo on the Middle East nation to allow insurgents access to anti-tank and anti-aircraft hardware.

The duo have vowed not only to veto the embargo when it comes up for review in May or even earlier, but also to equip the rebels with the weapons they need to end the rule of Mr. Assad.

The war that has reportedly claimed the lives of tens of thousands and displaced a million Syrians is an escalation of the Arab uprisings, which started late 2010 and swept away four tyrants in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

In Libya and Syria, unlike in Tunisia or Egypt, the revolts were met with the full force of the armed forces and war ensued. Whereas western intervention in Libya quickly ended the government of Gaddafi, things have been tricky in Syria.

Russia has always shown little willingness to forsake its Arab ally, vetoing every UN resolution intended to make life more difficult for Damascus. The United States, on the other hand, has either been reluctant to irritate Moscow or afraid of arming what it regards as Islamist-dominated rebels who, once in power, would not dance to the tune of the chief imperialist.

Things however started changing recently when Washington offered to provide so-called nonlethal aid, for instance medicine, to the rebels. Now France, which led the 2011 campaign against Gaddafi, and Britain say they are likely to dispatch arms to the “resistance fighters” even if it means violating the EU arms embargo.

Whereas Moscow is clearly opposed to any military assistance to the rebellion, it is not clear how it would react if Paris and London actualized their threats. One Russian option would be to increase its own military shipment to Damascus. This would prolong the war and worsen suffering.

Besides Russia, Assad has a very close ally in Iran. But the ability of Tehran to intervene is limited. In fact, the Islamic republic is itself going through a trying moment, one that is characterized by hurting sanctions and constant threats of military strikes.

Other Shiite state and non-state actors like Iraq and Hezbollah that would be eager to come to the rescue of their beleaguered brethren, equally have little they can do. Baghdad is still heavily under U.S. influence while Hezbollah’s guerilla warfare works best on home ground.

Apart from the Shiite enclave, no regional player would not welcome efforts to overthrow Assad. The Arab League has already allowed members to provide arms to the rebels.

The predominantly Sunni Arab nations cannot continuously tolerate in their midst a Shiite Iranian satellite that Assad’s Syria is. Besides, this Assad’s Shiite oligarchy is cruel to the 75 percent Syrian Sunni population.

It is in the name of this oppressed majority that the rebels picked up arms. With sophisticated arms now expected from Europe, Assad should get packing.    

Comments   

 
0 #1 burhan 2013-03-16 05:31
That's not new, the rebels have been armed from the very beginning by the UK,France, US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others NATO allies, Bashar Al Asad is very popular just like Ghaddafi was in Libya but they use the main stream media to demonise their anti imperialists opponents like charves, castrol and others who are not in bed with them, i strongly suggest you should review your sources, you talk about tyrants how about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, U.A.E and bahrain who are under ruthless tyrants but western allies, try www.a-w-i-p.com or the peoplesvoice or asiantimes for the big picture instead of CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera or Channel 24 but RT and press TV are credible sorces
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