Syria’s murky, multi-level conflict continues to grow worse. So does public confusion here in the west as the US, British and some European media keep depicting Syria’s civil war as a simple passion play pitting the evil Asad regime in Damascus against mostly unarmed democratic protestors.
We saw this same one-dimensional, deceptive reporting recently in Libya that was designed to support foreign intervention. It’s as incomplete today about Syria as it was in Libya which, by the way, is turning into a dangerous mess.
My assessment based on reliable primary sources in Washington, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon:
Support for the Asad family’s Ba’ath regime, now in power for 41 years, is clearly slipping. But important sections of the armed forces, the 17 intelligence and security agencies, the powerful Alawai minority, most Syrian Christians, tribal elements and much of the commercial middle and upper class still back the Asad’s. In spite of intense western efforts to overthrow him, Bashar Asad, a mild-mannered former eye specialist, is still hanging on.
The US, Britain, France, and some conservative Arab allies have funded and armed the Syrian rebellion from its start a year ago. In fact, the US has been funding anti-Asad groups since the mid 1990’s. Arms and munitions are said to be flowing to Syria’s rebels through Jordan and Lebanon. Extreme rightwing groups in Lebanon, funded by western and Arab powers and Israel, are playing a key role in infiltrating gunmen and arms into northern Syria.