Assad’s End Game? 'Let me out or let all hell break loose'
News broke at the close of last week that the dictator on everyone’s mind, Bashar al Assad, could be actively seeking political asylum in Latin America. The beleaguered Syrian President who is neck deep in his people’s blood, (over 40,000 citizens’ worth according to recent watchdogs) may just care to live after all. He has reportedly been looking into the possibility of extricating himself out of his hopeless mess.
The Guardian reported on the diplomatic efforts underway to secure the Assad great escape days ago, engineered by yet another high-profile defector, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi. Apparently he, among others before him, was allowed to leave Syria in exchange for negotiating al Assad's immunity.
But to return to the man in question, what can be going on in the head of the leader of a clan in power for four decades who, despite the Arab turmoil around him, never saw his end coming? What desperate thoughts are gripping the father of a young and still-very formative-family with an impressive, attractive and western-educated, not to mention, rumored-expectant wife?
Would this not be a family man who still wants to hold on for dear life – as a father still in his prime? With rumors surfacing that his wife is now five months along with their fourth child, it’s certainly no time for the expectant father to continue to pull off suicidal violence against his nation (resulting in almost 30,000 civilian deaths so far) that he will inevitably go down for – if not dragged down by his own downtrodden people, then at the hands of international justice at the Hague. Assad’s crimes are piling higher than his chemical stockpile is rumored to be: he has been using cluster bombs and TNT indiscriminately on Syrian civilians and rebel troops alike.
But, perhaps dying on Syrian soil is preferable to stewing away in an international criminal court-room. Reports of attempts on his behalf to broker a safe getaway fly in the face of his strongman rhetoric when he recently vowed to ‘live and die in Syria’. Though it's likely he is so surrounded by his father’s old cronies – those who had a hand in the 1982 Hama genocidal crimes against humanity- that he is harldy acting out of his own free will entirely.
What of the threats escalating in the media of chemical weapons activity within Syria? Is that a Lion's cry for rescue? This may be a sinister glimpse of the devestation he might unfurl if not granted safe passage and impunity.
With Syrian rebels closing in on the capital, and visions of the toppling of Tripoli in Libya not far from anyone’s mind, the Assad clan appears to be upping diplomatic efforts to maneuver a safe exit for family and even Syria's Alawite minority.
The growing desperation among the Assads coincides with the increasing anxiety over the threat posed by Syria's chemical weapons magazine. There have been recent signs of chemical flurry, signalling that the regime has activated chemical weapons units in readiness for use.
Given that engaging these weapons would bring on that foreign intervention that the US has so far striven to avoid, which a-la Libya style would inevitably bring down the regime, raising the spectre of chemical weapons may be a last-ditch ploy by Assad to sound the alarm for the deadly risk of refusing him safe-exit.
Have your say - is the end in sight or will the conflict in Syria drag on for months to come? Is this a new and final phase for the Assad regime? Is the fall of the Assad dynasty upon us and will it go off with fireworks of a disturbing chemical nature?