He rambled, lectured, smiled smugly and showed signs of serious delusion but Bashar Assad is still confident that he can survive the ‘conspiracy’ against his regime. An example of this confidence? The audacity to bash the Arab League, accusing it of having failed to protect Arab interests for the past 60 years, while Arab League monitors are on Syrian soil monitoring his regime’s repression and violence. His message: I can insult you even if your monitors are here, because you’re too weak to do anything about it, and I will continue to repress my people, because security comes first.
Much as we want the Assad regime to fall, the transitional process is not clear (as it was in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya), and Assad knows it. He may have lost much of his international and regional legitimacy, but a divided opposition, the support of China and Russia, and dithering from the US and Europe, can keep him afloat for while.
What does this mean on the ground in Syria? A good friend who knows Syria very well and has family there, recently visited Damascus and was able to meet many members of the local coordinating committees in the city’s suburbs. Most of the young men told her that the only option now was to arm themselves and bring down the regime militarily, because as he said: “We are alone, and we refuse to go on dying.”