Last week the wave of Middle East protests reached Syria. On day one, 300 got arrested and following that things got bloody and at least 5 were killed.
For those who don’t know, the Emergency Law in Syria has been in effect for the past 48 years. This means that civilians can get arrested, jailed or even executed without a trial and no one can ask questions.
As much as I would like change to come to Syria, I’m worried. I’m worried because unlike other countries in the Middle East, Syria is not really ruled by 1 person or 1 family. The situation in Syria is a bit different.
It may seem on the surface that Syria is in the hand of Bashar Al Assad, but in reality, there are other entities that run the show. Corruption in Syria is so severe, there will be many men fighting change. Those powerful men will fight change with weapons, and they have hundreds if not thousands of corrupt followers.
There is Al Assad family and its supporters. There are the supporters of Rifaat Al Assad, the brother who was expelled to Europe and tried several times to revolt through at least 50,000 followers in the military. There are the smugglers – a big force in Syria who control the boarders with Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. There is the Mukhabarat (Intelligence agents). There are the Republican Guards with their own leader and agendas. There is Abdul Halim Khaddam the ex vice president who was charged with treason and is now in exile. There is Rami Makhlouf, the most powerful businessman in Syria. There is also the military with loyalty to various heads who don’t necessary like each other.
In a nutshell, if shit hits the fan in Syria, people are screwed.The death toll will be high, protesters will not be attacked by men on horses and camels, they will be attacked with tanks. And unlike Libya where all militias are reporting to Gadaffi, in Syria, the militias after killing people may also be killing each other.
The above picture was taken in Hama in 1982, when the Muslim Brotherhood tried to revolt against the government. I guess a picture speaks a thousand words.