Two weeks ago experts and security officials in Syria called for “ever increasing international pressure” on the Assad regime, rather than any military intervention in Syria [1]. It seems this is exactly what has been happening the past week: the Arab League has suspended Syria after 22 years of membership, and France has withdrawn its ambassador from Damascus.[2] This, as well as statements from other Arab leaders such as the king of Jordan who said “Assad should step down for the good of his country”[2] is causing many world leaders to abandon the Assad regime.
This increase in national pressure by isolation is definitely impacting the regime, but these tactics may be having more dire effects on the people of Syria, the vast majority of which are intermittently without food, water, or electricity, losing their jobs, and watching the economy of their country crash and burn much more quickly than the regime.
In the past the resistance has been comprised mostly of “peaceful” protesting, but as we discussed today in class peaceful protests require an audience and the Syrian people no longer have much access to an audience as reporters have been banned from the country, and most information on Syria now comes from headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. Army defectors join the ranks of the resistance, and the momentum of the protest gets closer and closer to armed insurgency each day. So what is next for Syria? If Assad steps down will the Alawite sect place another from their ranks into power? Will the Sunni majority come to power? Will the country erupt into civil war? And what will this mean for surrounding Arab nations that have peaceful relations with the Assad regime? It seems that this course is coming to an end at a paramount moment in Syrian history; an unintentionally dramatic cliffhanger for this class.
It’s tempting to try to hypothesize a solution but even after all these weeks of following the situation in Syria, I don’t have one. The Assad regime can honestly do nothing at this moment to come back into favor with the majority of the Syrian population; more than 3,500 have been killed and that a debt the people will not forgive. Assad has lost his right to rule and his ability to exercise power (although he may continue killing, this tactic obviously has proved ineffective).

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