It is obvious that the aforesaid decision of the Arab League will put a spoke in Al-Assad's wheel. As understood from what has been going on in Syria since March 17th 2011, Al-Assad's Administration, which has been going through an internal legitimacy problem, has come across a legitimacy problem in the Arab World upon the latest decision of the Arab League. Having problems with its own people and thus excluded from the Arab World, Al-Assad's Administration's governing Syria will be much more difficult henceforward. In addition to this, following the decision of the Arab League, the pressure against Al Assad's Government will increase across the world as well. The support of Iran, who has been struggling with its own problems, further drawing the attention to itself after the last report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and who does not have a good place in the Arab League, will not save Assad; on the contrary it will further put a spoke in Assad's wheel.
While the final decision of the Arab League paves the way for isolating Al-Assad, it will also help the Assad opponents find much more support at regional and international levels. As the Syrian opponents will be furthered considered as interlocutor henceforth, the legitimacy of Al-Assad's Administration will completely at risk.
After losing her neighbour Turkey, who had provided a significant movement area to the country in recent years, Al-Assad's Administration will now become completely isolated in the region by facing opposition of the Arab League. In this process, Assad will try to stay in power by blackmailing as he explicitly states from time to time; but everyone, looking over the recent history of the region, can easily see that these efforts will not bring to a successful conclusion.
Although Al-Assad's Administration's goose has been cooked upon the decision of the Arab League, the fact that a serious and strong opposition couldn't be/hadn't been created against Al-Assad's Government under a single roof with a common mission up until now is the most important reason making Assad's work easier. As a matter of fact, as of today, the opposition forces against Assad have been divided into three. The first one is the structure, which was organized in Turkey at the end of a couple of meetings, and which created the National Council of Syria. This is the group, which seems to be the most organized among the others so far. The second is a formation called, Support Council for Syrian Revolution, which was created as a result of initiatives of Sarkozy, under the guidance of France. And the third one is a guided opposition formation, which was created upon Assad's initiatives in Syria. In addition to this, as a result of the fact that each opposition group pursues different expectations and interests, as each opposition group has its own ethnical, religious, and sectarian characteristics, a weak opposition encourages Assad.
Besides opposition groups' being disunion and weak, the fact that the countries (as in the example of France and Turkey), who support the aforesaid groups, cannot unite for a common goal because of the competition and conflicts of interest between one another is another reason prolonging the life of Al Assad's Administration.
In addition to all these, because of the opposition of Russia and China, the fact that a serious decision could not be taken against Assad within the United Nations Security Council yet also provides resistance to Assad.
However, the Arab League's final decision on Syria is a milestone. As also indicated above, after a serious sanction decision such as the Arab League's suspending the membership of another Arab State, new sanctions against Syria at international level have been led up. After this decision of the Arab League, it will not be a surprise if Russia and China develop new attitudes against Al-Assad's Administration by considering their future interests. And these states will easily discard Assad by considering their interests in Arab geography.
It is understood from the developments that everything is done in Maghreb (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya). Now, it is time to throw the strongest stone in Mashriq. It is understood that the way for change/transition will be cleared with a potential change of power in Syria.
As the pressure increases, Al-Assad's Government will increase the violence; as the violence increases, the legitimacy of Al-Assad's Government will decrease; and as the legitimacy decreases, Assad will lose the control in Syria. In such cases, isn't it the course of proceeding?
»» Assoc. Prof. Mehmet ŞAHİN, ORSAM Middle East Advisor, Gazi Uni. Department of International Relations