This video was taken secretly and has no sound. A security man beats two Syrians standing in front of him: both are asked to stand still so the punches can land properly. The man who does not stand still is beaten more savagely.
On May 10, Bashar Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf declared:
If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel.
True to his words, yesterday the regime incited Palestinians and Syrians to storm their borders with Israel, catching the Israeli government by surprise. With this action, Syria has turned its domestic conflict into a regional one.
Also yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Russian support for Assad’s regime by citing the interference of foreign elements in Syria. He provided no proof for this claim of interference, but his statement — on the heels of Russia voting against a UN resolution to condemn Syria — is a clear indication of which side Russia is taking in this conflict of instability and terror. Assad is a golden pawn with a wide range of utilitarian purposes for Russia.
Given that the U.S. is assisting Japan and is participating in three different conflicts, the appetite for another one is low at best: Syria, Iran, and Russia know this. The West has very few options besides exercising restraint — which, considering the dynamics at play, is synonymous with defeat. At the hands of Iran.
Ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ascended to power, his belief in the 12th Imam’s coming reappearance via Armageddon has not subsided. Only through mayhem can Iran achieve this religious awakening, thus defeating all its enemies. Today, the region is closer than ever to this day of reckoning after Israeli wars in 2006 and 2008 against terrorist organizations supported by Iran and Syria failed to subdue this evil.
The Syrian people, meanwhile, are determined to earn their freedom through peaceful struggle. Mass graves, the shelling of homes with huddled families, snipers picking off Syrians as if playing a video game, and Alawite generals being told to fight for existence: it all paints a bleak picture of the pressure Syrians are under to turn their struggle into an armed one. But they remain steadfast in their commitment to peaceful struggle.
However, Iran welcomes civil war in Syria as part of its grand scheme.
Iran seeding permanent chaos is an ugly future, and the West must consider the alternatives. Will the West turn a blind eye to Assad’s massacres, hoping to fight him another day, or will it stop the blackmail and confront Assad with whatever means possible? If President Barack Obama calls for regime change in Syria, will Assad sink? And if he stays afloat, what contingency plans can secure the president’s words?
Further, what roles can countries in the GCC and Israel play? All will suffer greatly if Assad survives and Iran appears to be winning against the West. Another win by Iran will turn the Middle East into a swamp of terror, which may mean even steeper gas costs for U.S. consumers.
U.S. supremacy is being challenged in ways never seen before by the likes of Iran and other countries eager to see the U.S. on its knees. The Europeans, addicted to Russian gas, will have to weigh their options carefully before they start on another path like the one they have taken in Libya. Absent Assad calming the Syrian street without a grand-scale massacre, the Syrian conflict will continue to bubble.
Now that the conflict has been internationalized, the West has no choice but to find a means by which both the Syrian and the Iranian regimes are defeated: it’s in everyone’s interest, including U.S. consumers.