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Support for Assad hurting Hizbullah’s credibility

Syrian isolation deepens as crackdown worsens

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11 Aug 2011 (All day)
Support for Assad hurting Hizbullah’s credibility

Indications are beginning to surface throughout the Arab world that the Iranian supported Shi’ite terror militia Hizbullah, which has effectively taken over the government of Lebanon, is losing popularity because of its unqualified support for Syrian president Bashar Assad and the bloody crackdown he has ordered against civilians protesting against his government.  “Hizbullah always criticises the double standards of the West, but it has done worse,” said Amjad, a protester from the Syrian city of Hama. “We feel betrayed.”

The situation inside Syria is unclear because of press blackouts, with conflicting reports surfacing on Wednesday that former Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Ali Habib might not be dead as earlier reported. Elsewhere, varios press agencies reported that over a dozen Syrian protesters were shot dead in the central city of Homs on Wednesday, even as troops evacuated the battered city of Hama. Also on Wednesday, the US moved to impose sanctions on the country’s largest commercial bank and largest mobile phone company. Turkey, the country believed to have the most influence over Assad, also criticized the regime for not allowing international media to cover events in the country. Meanwhile, Brazil, India and South Africa, who along with Russia and China have vehemently opposed Western efforts to impose UN sanctions on Damascus, sent envoys to Damascus on Wednesday, where they were told by Assad that “some mistakes had been made by the security forces in the initial stages of the unrest and that efforts were underway to prevent their recurrence."

Analysts have posited that Assad isn’t fooling anyone with his rhetoric and that his removal from power is only a matter of time, adding that the only question is when Hizbullah will realize its mistake and be the last friend to abandon him.

“Whether he is in a mood to listen or not doesn’t matter. Everyone else is in a mood for a post-Assad Syria and are all positioning themselves for this eventuality,” Prof. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist at UAE University, told The Media Line. “There is no doubt about it that Iran is going to be one of the biggest losers. If you look at who lost and gained from this Arab Spring, Iran has come out with a net loss so far. If Assad goes that will be their biggest loss. The Iranians are doing everything possible to bolster him.”

“It is not the outside world that is going bring Assad down but the people on the ground there,” Abdulla continued. “You have watch for two things: when Damascus will begin to rise -- They are turning against him, but are waiting it out -- and the trouble within the military. We have seen signs of this already when he sacked his defense minister. Things are starting to happen.”

 “Dictators don’t give up easy. They are fighting back and using brutal force at their disposal to prevent revolts. Tunisia was the exception. All the others are acting in a way one should expect toward revolutions. They are bloody and prolonged and not easy to overthrow, especially ones like Assad and (Libyan leader Moammar) Gaddafi who understand the use of force.”

 

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