The current situation prompts an analysis of the structure of the regime and a plan of action for resistance.
The current house of security cards was built in the 70’s on the following:
1. A weak army with units infiltrated with members of the regime whose function is to monitor for any evidence of dissent or plots.
2. Lack of horizontal communication between units to prevent a coordinated coup d’etat.
3. Seventeen branches of the security services from monitoring the Palestinian refugees to the monitoring of students and workers and even artists. These likewise have vertical reporting schemes and no horizontal communication abilities.
4. A Baath party that is the venue for control of the civilian aspect of life whereby all important activities and promotions and education go through its structure. Over the last 10 years, it has lost its importance to the rise of the inner circle mafia-like structure that allowed for the use of state structures for the development of huge corrupt graft schemes to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
5. A very large number of informants in the form of taxi drivers and clerks and middle men and waiters whose income is supplemented by their reporting on any activity that may be detrimental to the regime. This group is the least reliable and loyal.
6. Special praetorian guard to protect the regime that is best equipped and trained.
7. Alliance with minorities fearful fo change and loss of status and privilege
8. A centralized system of propaganda
Weaknesses of the system are evident in the following areas
1. A central command structure and if it is impaired in its ability to assess or communicate may leave local branches and subordinates without clear directives
2. A lack of internal control of the individual units and a huge burden on the leadership in maintaining its grip everywhere and at all times. Therefore, we see the rise of fiefdoms such as the directorate responsible for the presence in neighboring countries; or of the refugees; or the border crossings and what have you.
3. The rivalry and protection of turf that is bound to rise in times of peace and perhaps diminish in times of strife until there is evidence of a ship sinking.
4. The inability of the regime to pay and ensure loyalty of the troops and the rank and file.
5. In a single party system, the ultimate weakness is based on the fact that positions are based on loyalty to the regime and not on expertise and that there is no mechanism of accountability leading to a inner rot of the system.
6. Truthful information is a horror for the regime and more important is any scandal on the international air waves for image is a very important component of any discourse to stay in power, justify repression, impose a state of emergency, suspend the constitution, and corrupt the judiciary.
7. The Baath party is actually very weak and many of the protesters are angry that the former role of the party to allow for social and professional and educational upward mobility has been destroyed.
8. Recurrent mistakes of a regime that is believing its own lies and propaganda in a world that is most interconnected and open.
9. A state run economy recently liberalized in a “Wild West Way” that makes it very fragile and on the brink of collapse.
Strengths of the regime are
1. Ruthless and utter savagery in dealing with dissent
2. A sect based division of the country that plays into the hands of the few by using chaos as a terror card
3. Significant military resources
4. Pervasive intrusive information system that frames all aspects of society’s life
5. Centralized structure of propaganda and single voice organs.
6. Extensive business deals and relations with the neighbors that make it difficult to isolate it completely especially when it comes to illegal activities from prostitution to drugs to smuggling.
7. Experience from the regimes that fell recently in the sense that it either marginalizes the army or insures its loyalty; preparation of contacts with regional and other powers to insure their alliance with the regime as the region has now shifted away from the alliances of the past regimes. For example, Russia came out with egg on its face in Libya while the US came out on top in Egypt and France was able to recuperate Tunisia by intervening favorably in Libya. This leaves Russia with few allies in the Mediterranean region. It makes the regime more indispensable to it.
8. The opposition is made up of disparate groups who have put the cart in front of the horses and started by bickering on the shape of the future of the country as if the regime’s fall was going to be easy and imminent and only lately have concentrated again on the need to stop the repressive machine first and foremost.
9. Some ability of the regime to insert the resistance discourse on the one hand and the fanatic religious groups on the other hand as we see on several blogs.
1. Concentrate on propagating the truth as much as possible
2. Concentrate on the single discourse that is important: the country is not a democracy; dialogue cannot happen while repression continues; self reform is impossible without dissolution of the state of emergency and the dismantling of the security house of cards
3. The state institutions need to be preserved for the aftermath of the fall of the regime; stability of the economy on the long run will require massive investments and cooperation from many countries. Insure that promises of aid and development will be much better than anything the regime can offer.
4. Truth and reconciliation will be the order of the day without revenge or exclusion.
5. Continue civil disobedience to the maximum.
6. Shame and isolate the supporters of the regime such as writing to the Russian Federation embassies and to RT.
7. The long tradition of the people for the Arab and Palestinian cause and for the cooperation and work with all Arab states will remain the bedrock of the new country.
8. The only fear we should fear is fear itself for it robs the work of today from the hope of a better tomorrow
9. Collective awareness of the need for change does not mean the end of individual freedom for this is why many are afraid of dissent for they are used to have an extremely strong sense of individuality without a single ounce of civic duty as we see in the day to day life of the people in the cities. Once people realize that their fate is common collective awareness for the need to change will start.
I hope this bring forth a new and constructive point of departure. Please let me know whether this needs to be posted on other blogs even though they may be pro regime.