The Arab Spring Revolution, which began in December 2010, has so far led to the fall of three tyrants in Tunis, Egypt and Libya. Despite the fact that people have been uprising in both Syria and Yemen for more than eight months, both regimes are still waging war on their people and innocent civilians are being killed. I predicted more than five months ago that the revolution would last a long time, but that in the end, the governments of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and A. Saleh in Yemen will collapse. One of the main reasons governments in both countries still resist the pressure from protestors is attributed to the support of the army to both regimes. In Syria, the president’s brother Mahir al-Assad, is the commander of the presidential Republican army, which is the largest and best military equipped with weapons. In addition to that, some other army battalions are commanded by high ranking officers who are members of the Alawite religious groups that Bashar al-Assad is also affiliated with. Those army officers have provided an umbrella of protection to the Syrian regime.
A similar situation exists in Yemen, where President Saleh’s son is the commander of the Republican guards’ regiment, who has been the force behind the president. Regardless of such situations, I have previously stated that it will be a matter of time and more bloodshed before both authoritarian regimes will ultimately collapse.
This trend has already started in Syria, where high-ranking officers began to rebel against their military commanders in protest of the Syrian army’s brutality against their own people. Deserting the army has been a rapidly increasing occurrence. More than a dozen high-ranking officers have deserted their army units and have established a military council to combat the regular Syrian army who has so far killed more than 4,000 protestors.
Furthermore, a few days ago, the Arab League met to discuss the bloodshed in Syria. 19 members of the 23 have voted to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization if they do not stop killing the protestors. The Arab League’s resolution gave Syria four days to stop the killing, to pull army units from public streets in Syrian cities, to release all prisoners that were arrested during the protests and to open Syria’s borders for foreign observers to enter the country as well as a group of observers from the Arab League.
The resolution also stressed the fact that the Syrian government should start negotiating with the opposition group to discuss the transitional authority into a transitional council. It is regrettable to say that the specified period of four days has passed and the Syrian government has ignored the Arab League’s resolution and increased its attack against the protestors. In the meantime, and according to the resolution, the Arab League is expected to impose a political and economic punishment on Syria and will call on all Arab ambassadors to leave Damascus and for the Syrian ambassadors in Arab countries to return back to Syria.
The Arab League Resolution is very strong and the punishment ultimately will lead to the collapse of the Syrian regime. On the other side, the Syrian regime will become more belligerent and my prediction is that ultimately there will be a broad uprising in the Syrian military forces that will bring an end to the Syrian regime.
Some Arab heads of state began calling on Bashar al-Assad to surrender his authority and to facilitate the peaceful transfer of authority to stop the bloodshed that has been taking place during the past eight months.
The Yemeni situation is also bad and the protestors continue to demand the resignation of President Ali Saleh. The irony of this leader is that he continues to say that he will resign in due time, but never keeps his word. The latest statement by President Saleh is that he will surrender his authority during the next 60-90 days, based on the Arab Gulf plan.
It is a very strange cultural phenomenon that has been prevalent in Arab society since independence, that those who assumed power during the past 60 years in all Arab states (with the exception of Lebanon) did not surrender their authority willingly. Either they have died while in office, such as Abdel Nasser, have been killed while in office, such as A. Saddat. Or have been removed as a result of a military coup, as was the case in Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. The people in the Arab world have not experienced a real democracy so far. I hope that the Arab Spring Revolution, which has removed the blanket of fear, will end up ushering in a new horizon of freedom. This trend has already begun in Tunis and will be a free election in Egypt at the end of November 2011