Well, events seem to be proving my analysis correct faster than expected.
First, we have Assad explaining to the Wall Street Journal in a rare interview why Syria is immune from these Tunisia, Egypt style protests.
Assad Rare Wall Street Journal Interview
He echoed my reasons posted in the last note:
Assad is more popular there then Mubarak, Islamist movement is much less pronounced and the economic situation there is not as bad. Assad has also shown to the Arab Street that he has been able to thus far, avoid war and avoid surrender to Israel and the west, becoming a bit of mini regional superpower along with Iran and the rest of the Axis of Evil. This gives street credibility.
Assad said, according to the AP article reporting on the interview ( I did not have the actual text from the WSJ).
But he said Syria, which has gradually shed its socialist past in favor of the free market in recent years, was insulated from the upheaval because he understood his people’s needs and has united them in common cause against Israel.
We have more difficult circumstances than most of the Arab countries, but in spite of that Syria is stable. Why? Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people,” Assad said, according to the paper.
He is seen by many Arabs, however, as one of the few leaders in the region willing to stand up to arch enemy Israel. And his support for Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups opposed to Israel as well as his opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq has won him more support among his people than other Arab rulers.
In summary, the free market reforms point to the fact the economy is not as bad. And his ability to stand up to the US and Israel, therefore keeping in line with the Islamist youth, and giving all the people a common enemy which is a uniting force were mentioned by both of us. Assad of course just puffed up the resistance part, whereas I mentioned that he was able to appear to resist, but actually avoid war with either the US or Israel. This is a key part of the plan, because actual war with either would not help him stay in power at all.
Then I also pointed out how Israel will be willing to bend the peace treaty with no end just to ensure it remains in name. Incredibly that only took one day after my prediction to start:
Israel allows Egyptian troops into the Sinai
Israel has allowed the Egyptian Military into Sinai, breaking one of the main clauses of the treaty, which namely is that the Sinai remain demilitarized.
Besides that, Mubarak is holding strong…. lets see if he makes it. They are trying a sensible strategy. Do not mess with the protesters as long as they are peaceful, as they will eventually tire. But at the same time, the army has warned the protesters not to attack institutions, life or property. If the protesters simply camp out with no violence, they will tire and go home. Meanwhile, they are trying tun underscore the divisions between the protesters to break the image of a united anti-Mubarak front. Mubarak’s biggest problem I think, is that the US and other world leaders are now pressuring him to step down and do not want to give him that time to restore normalcy. Egypt is heavily dependent on world’s aid and grain and other food imports.
It looks to me like the army gave him privately, their word of support, but publicly are playing objective keepers of the peace. So we will see about that.
And Finally, a feeble attempt to ride the protest wave by Russian anti Putin Protesters.
Putin responded by personally beating up the 5 protesters without his shirt on, and reminded them, that Russians are not Arabs, and he is not Mubarak. When pressed for details he would only say that Russians enjoy being ruled by dictators far more than Arabs, and that even if they didn’t he has a black belt in Judo, while Mubarak is 82.
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