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MURAT YETKİN > Syria grows fragile, Iraq too

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On Sunday, Aug. 5, Bashar al-Assad’s administration in Syria announced that they had cleared the capital Damascus of “terrorist elements” and had made considerable advances in Aleppo where they had deployed 20,000 additional troops.

On Monday, Aug. 6 there was an explosion at the state-run radio and TV building, which could have been an isolated terrorist action. But it was followed by another development which actually was big news. Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who had assumed his office after the general elections in May, had left his post and fled from the country, possibly heading for Qatar.

This was a second major blow to the al-Assad regime after a bomb attack last month killed four top security officials.

It is not clear whether al-Assad sacked him before or after he learned that he had left the country with his family. But a spokesman for Hijab told the media that he would join the Syrian opposition, possibly the Syrian National Council (SNC). Another former close aide to al-Assad who had fled Damascus nearly two months ago has been touring the neighborhood (with an unannounced stop in Ankara) in order to take part in post-al-Assad transitional government scenarios. It is possible that Hijab could be a part of those scenarios since the Western “Friends of the Syrian People” group has already rejected an Iraqi-style de-Baathification, which ruined that country, meaning a transitional government in Syria would need people from the old regime who regret (or at least pretend to regret) what they have done. That includes ministers, mid-rank army officers, policemen, fire fighters, teachers and doctors. It seems that the formation of a transitional government to run the country is on its way.

Hijab’s flight could be regarded as an indication of Syria’s increasing fragility, and post-al-Assad scenarios are to prevent the country from falling apart.

Because Iraq at risk of falling apart. Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north of the country, which borders Turkey, has started to sign oil and gas deals with energy giants despite the objection of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, who refuses to approve a hydrocarbons law to regulate the sharing of oil and gas income. The energy giants have an interest in supplying more oil and gas that is not controlled or is less controlled by Russia and Iran to Western markets; Turkey provides an option under NATO protection for both Iraqi Kurdish and Azeri resources to be transferred further west. The presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the KRG region and its armed campaign is, of course, a pain in the neck and a big obstacle to greater cooperation, but it is also a bargaining chip for Barzani. It is not an easy problem, but without the support of the Syrian regime and friends of the current Syrian regime, the PKK is likely to fall into a downward spiral.

If Syria falls apart, the division of Iraq might be imminent. If borders start to change in the region, no one can guess where they will stop.

August/07/2012

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ilker avni

8/7/2012 11:08:35 PM

@ Blue dotted Your to young prob,but during the sevebties the Americans would have gone to nuclear war over the middle east,in fact Ronald Reagan said that a nuclear war in the ME was possiable and exceptable by americans.Guess what over ? yes OILAmerica has let it be known as far back as 1974 that they were prepaired to invade countries who use the oil card and take over their nation for the oil,and why not?.I am all for it serves them right.

A.MENAF GÜLBAY

8/7/2012 12:12:49 PM

ı wish soon as soon passible assad will be hanging by someone... before innocent muslim people have been dead. he deployed 20,000 additional not enough ıf he deployed 100,000 additional trrrops he does't avoıd from hanging inshallah. evey country want to make profit (without Turkiyem) that area abou gos and oil and the other source UNFORTUNATELY ALL MUSLİMS ARE BLEED...

Blue Dotterel

8/7/2012 5:50:25 AM

Ilker, That's why NATO and the GCC ignore international law and prefer to war and the massacres of civilians to dialogue and negotiation. The US and its vassal states are the greatest violators of human rights on the planet. We need the rule of international law, not the rule of the jungle.

ilker avni

8/7/2012 3:25:25 AM

The Wests energy supplies are dependant on Russia since Iran is under sanctions,the only alternative is Iraq and Azaerbajan,the other alternative is Qatar,what Qatar wants is a pipe line via Syria to Turkeys energy hub and access to European markets. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries could allso use the same access routes useing the Turkish route. via Syria.Thats why they want Assad out of the way and why Russia is fighting Assads corner to prevent Syria being used as a transit point.

Blue Dotterel

8/7/2012 1:12:41 AM

Best to rid themselves of these cowards. Interesting that the Syrian people will continue to be ruled by these easily bought off Baathist traitors should Assad fall. No democracy for you Syria. Note also that Western imperialism is trying to ensure its control over at least part of Iraqi oil, and, incidently, further driving a wedge between the Arabs and Kurds of Iraq.
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