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Assad Bets on the Next Earthquake

In an op-ed to al-Modon, Muhanad Haj Ali compared the Syrian regime policies and decision-making to a hostage-taker's.
Assad Bets on the Next Earthquake

The Syrian regime has a narrow perspective and tends to view the world through limited windows. Its policies are often short-sighted and short-term, much like a hostage-taker’s. Once a deal is completed, interest in any promises made often fades away.

The Syrian regime’s narrow view of the outside world can be attributed not only to its militia-style behaviour but also to the limited economic competitiveness of the state it has built. This is partly due to its protectionist policies, which have created monopolies held by a network of regime cronies – often comprised of members of the ruling family and their relatives.

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Any discussion about the Syrian regime’s resumption of relations with the Arab world must include a feasibility study that examines what the regime can offer to the outside world. There are currently two major issues of concern. The first is the possibility of disengagement from Iran, which is becoming increasingly unlikely due to the regime’s need for Iranian support and militias to maintain its security. As Russia’s capabilities are weakened by the war in Ukraine, the regime’s logical path to ensuring its security is to rely more heavily on Iran.

The second issue of concern is the possibility of refugee returns. However, any such returns would require at least some degree of economic growth and reconstruction and a genuine political will to achieve them. Current limited reconstruction projects appear to be primarily driven by a desire for profit, highlighting the regime’s weakness in controlling competing groups trying to accumulate wealth.  

In addition to these two issues, what other tools does the regime possess to be able to open up to the world and the region? The regime can make promises and offer illusions, but these are only temporary measures. For instance, before the elections, Erdogan promised to facilitate the return of some refugees, and there was also a symbolic return of the loyalist class to Jordan. However, Jordan later reversed its steps due to drug trafficking concerns. Therefore, while the earthquake allowed some visits and shows of solidarity, they were only temporary measures.

Once the limitations and fallacies of these tools become apparent, the international community will likely view the regime for what it truly is: a hub for the drug industry and trade and a stronghold for Russia, Iran, and their allies, who are at odds with the global community.

In the face of such a grim reality, the regime’s hope seems to rest on the possibility of more natural disasters, which it could use to attract sympathy visits.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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