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TAHA ÖZHAN

TAHA ÖZHAN > A new phase in the Syrian revolution

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There is a particular tactic the Syrian Baath regime and its supporters have been exercising for months now. They are actualizing the non-bluff version of this tactic every day in Syria. The killings of dozens of people every day, bombing of cities, the imprisonment and the displacement of people whose numbers we do not know are common daily Baathist practices. In the lightest form of expression, this is called chaos. The Baathist regime insisted on talking about a potential regional crisis while chaos and massacres ensued in the daily reality every day in Syria. Iran and Russia, who have been involved in this de facto, articulated similar expressions. They attempted to mask the crisis and massacres taking place today by continuously repeating the potential of some future crisis and bloodshed.

A particularly different meaning can be attributed to Syria’s shooting of a Turkish fighter jet last week. Nevertheless, the most visible outcome is that the Baath regime has now entered a critical juncture. As a consequence of the indifference of the West and the geostrategic calculations of Russia and Iran, which even surprise themselves, the Baath regime thinks that its lifespan has been extended. With this attack on Turkey, al-Assad hopes that scare the regional actors off by “spreading the crisis” to a country that has the capacity to determine Syria’s future. The Baath regime also hopes that international support for Turkey, who will become its most visible enemy, will decrease.

Both of al-Assad’s calculations are wrong and incomplete just like his other calculations of 2012. Talking about a Syria without Turkey after Syria shot down a fighter jet and killed Turkish soldiers while thousands of Syrian refugees and hundreds of opposition actors have fled to Turkey is only a temporary illusion. The Syrian regime, with its latest move, has cleared the path for Turkey to be a more legitimate and involved actor of the current crisis. More importantly, it has proved that the thesis all regional actors will be implicated in an actual conflict over Syria was only a scare tactic. It is also determined that neither the Baath regime itself nor those who encouraged the Baathists to attack believed in this thesis.

What will happen now? Al-Assad, who has bombed Homs and other cities and who just watched Israel bomb Syria, attacked an unarmed Turkish military jet. This is a breaking point not only for the Baathist regime but also for Turkey. The time will begin to flow quicker for the Baathist regime. That this rapid acceleration should cause a serious crisis in the al-Assad administration is inevitable. The Syrian family-gang administration, which lacks modern state associations, will become used to suppressing the uprisings under the latest political pressures. Yes, we are entering a new phase in the Syrian uprisings. This is a phase in which Mohamed Morsi can reject al-Assad’s congratulatory statements. There is no room for the Baathists in this new world!

June/29/2012

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