Nawaf Fares, who was once Syria’s ambassador to Iraq and President Assad’s close friend, has claimed that the regime will opt for chemical weapons if the civil war begins to swing against them. I don’t think anybody is arguing against this. The only thing I’m happy about is that they don’t have weapons of mass destruction as I believe that they would use them if the regime began to crumble.
At the moment there are a large number of chemical weapons within the regime’s weapons cache. There have already been unconfirmed reports that these weapons have come into use in the artillery-ravaged city of Homs. However, it does have to be stressed that this could just be a lie by the opposition. Just because people have rebelled against President Assad doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be just as bad if they got into power. All you have to do to confirm that is look at Egypt. You have a hardcore Islamic party fighting with the military overlords of the country. It’s not exactly the best combination for a peaceful life.
Russia also said a few days ago that they were been blackmailed by the West into launching sanctions against their ally Syria. I’m not really sure where the blackmail is, but even if there is blackmail I would applaud it. The fact is that no matter which way the Russians want to spin it they are still supporting a criminal regime. Everybody knows that the only reason Western troops haven’t intervened is because of the likes of Russia and China. They need Syria or they lose a foothold in the region. Then it gives the locals and the Americans a free hand to practically do what they want.
Furthermore, what we have to remember is that Russia makes a lot of money from selling its weapons to countries like Syria. It’s how they made a lot of money during the Cold War and its how they are doing it today. I would even go as far to argue that their economy would be in dire straits in these tough economic times if they weren’t able to see President Assad use chemical weapons and continue to buy Russian weapons. If being blackmailed is what it takes to convince Russia to stop supporting scum then I really don’t see anything wrong with it. The political arena is morally and ethically grey. The political arena is not black and it’s not white.
Do I think the regime will collapse?
Oh hell yes. No way will that regime survive into the future. It might take a while since the West can’t intervene, but I think that sooner or later it will collapse. It’s already well-known that Russia is funding the regime so it will only be a matter of time before we start funding the rebels; and that’s assuming we aren’t already funding them, which I have a feeling we are doing.