Can President Assad do what it takes to cleanse his corrupt regime?

By: Robert Fisk

The security forces – and we shall use the word “security” in quotation marks from here on – are fearful. There are long histories of torture and executions behind them and there are many within the military security apparatus inside Syria who are fearful of a riposte. For many years, the torture regime has imposed the most terrible revenge upon opponents of both the President and his father. There was the “German chair” which broke the back of opponents and there was the “Syrian chair” which broke their backs more slowly.

“People are looking for security forces who will not treat the people like animals.” So said Daeiri el-Eiti last night, a Syrian activist, summing up the thoughts of his country. He was right. In Banias, in Latakia, in Homs, in Aleppo, in Deraa, even in Damascus itself, it is the same thing. As a friend of Bashar al-Assad, the President, said last night, “Bashar is like Fukushima. He is irradiated.”

Is this true? Can this be the end for the Ba’ath party of Syria, the very end of the “Renaissance Party” of the country which Bashar’s father Hafez supported? Is this the end of the Syrian security forces? It seems incredible, but it looks as if all Bashar’s dutiful offers of generosity – an end to the state of emergency, for example – have failed. There are those in Syria who say it is over, that there is nothing Bashar al-Assad can do to save his regime. We shall see.

The current President knows all this and has tried to bring it to a halt. Largely, he has been successful. His regime has largely proved to be humanitarian. But he has not been a successful leader. In his desperate attempts to persuade Syrians that he can control his country, he has accused America, France and Lebanon of being responsible for the violence of demonstrators in his country.

Nobody in Syria believes this. The idea that Lebanon – let alone America and France – can cause demonstrations is ridiculous.

The problem lies, as Mr Eiti says, in that Syria remains a dictatorship and that Assad remains a dictator. His failure to rid his own family of the corrupt men within it (I am speaking of his uncle in particular) is the main problem for the regime. This is not a Gaddafi-corrupted government. This is not a Mubarak government. This is an Alawi regime – and essentially a Shia regime – which has been corrupted by its own family. The Assad family knows what it must do to cleanse the family name. Can Bashar do it? Does he have the power to do it? This is all that matters now if he is going to save his regime. Independent

  • C S

    Rami Makhlouf is a low-life scumbag, and if his cousin Bashar was not President, he would not be so rich and powerful. He would be a garbage collector, picking up the garbage in the streets of Damascus. Dog, dirt-bag, low-life scumbag, that’s what he is. Same goes for Maher Assad, Asef Shawkat, and Rustom Ghazali and Farouk Sharaa as well…all dogs, and their days are coming…..Bashar, you are one of the few computer literates in Syria, and I bet ten to one, you are reading all these comments, posted on all these websites…..Pack your bags, and leave Syria, you dog….and take those idiots with you, on your way out…..your days as “President” of Syria, are numbered, and you can make all the speeches and fake concessions you want, but in your heart, deep-down, you must know it is all over for you and your gang….Goodbye…..

    • ledafair

      are you a Syrian citizen? do you believe in constructive criticism? negative comments will only and surely gain you negative results.

  • C S

    Rami Makhlouf is a low-life scumbag, and if his cousin Bashar was not President, he would not be so rich and powerful. He would be a garbage collector, picking up the garbage in the streets of Damascus. Dog, dirt-bag, low-life scumbag, that’s what he is. Same goes for Maher Assad, Asef Shawkat, and Rustom Ghazali and Farouk Sharaa as well…all dogs, and their days are coming…..Bashar, you are one of the few computer literates in Syria, and I bet ten to one, you are reading all these comments, posted on all these websites…..Pack your bags, and leave Syria, you dog….and take those idiots with you, on your way out…..your days as “President” of Syria, are numbered, and you can make all the speeches and fake concessions you want, but in your heart, deep-down, you must know it is all over for you and your gang….Goodbye…..

    • Anonymous

      are you a Syrian citizen? do you believe in constructive criticism? negative comments will only and surely gain you negative results.

  • Constantin7

    Yes, the days of Bashar are coming to an end…I am anxious to see the reaction of Jumblat, HA, Berr the SSP and Aoun when their BIG ally in Damascus vanishes,

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the days of Bashar are coming to an end…I am anxious to see the reaction of Jumblat, HA, Berr the SSP and Aoun when their BIG ally in Damascus vanishes,

  • Fauzia45

    Though their conspiracy theories and their accusations sound ¨ridiculous¨, and many do not believe them,they continue!

  • Fauzia45

    Though their conspiracy theories and their accusations sound ¨ridiculous¨, and many do not believe them,they continue!

  • Anonymous

    Though their conspiracy theories and their accusations sound ¨ridiculous¨, and many do not believe them,they continue!