2012: A potentially disasterous year for three allied dictatorships


by FG

Some dates in history are famous for producing landmark changes. See 1453 and 1917-1918 for past examples. This year may have similar potential.

In 1453 when Byzantium fell to the Turks, the Hundred Years War came to an end and Johann Gutenberg introduced movable type, starting a communications revolution that accelerated popular revolution and helped bring on the Reformation. Historians use 1453 as a convenient date to mark the end of the Middle Ages and the transition to something new.

Ditto for 1917-1918) when four centuries-long empires fell and the ground was laid for Hitler and Stalin. The effects of World War I were economic, political, social, military and technological.

The potential triggers for 2012 lies in two events possibly coming together—the imposition of full sanctions in Iran and the downfall of Assad in Syria where momentum has shifted and seems to be accelerating rapidly. The scary thing is that both may occur almost simultaneously if things keep going as they are.


Thanks to support from Russia and Iran, Assad has managed to hang on so far even while killing more than 14,000 Syrians. Even with allies continued support, it now appears the regime is beginning to teeter (see upcoming subpost). Even former allies may defect as it becomes so noticeable.

Regardless of intentions, can Iran afford to continue to subsidize Assad Syria once sanctions go into full effect in a few weeks? Among Iranian and Russian officials, the perception is growing that the tide seems to be turning rapidly in Syria. If so, why throw good money after bad? Should Iranians cut off aid for those two reasons, Russia too is likely to dessert a sinking ship. At that point I suspect that any Russian “apologies” will impress the muslim world as much as “remorse” from a convicted serial killer would impress families of his victims prior to sentencing.


Everyone is already obsessed with the political and economic effects when sanctions take full effect in Iran. Supposee Assad’s regime were to follow not long afterward. How might that event compound the regime’s problems at home?

Can it save itself by crying “uncle” on nuclear inspections or would Khamenei remain obstinate? In that case the regime would face a lose-lose situation. It can remain stubborn, assuring that every domestic problem grows worse. Or it can give in and offend hard-line nationalists and clerics. Recall Khrushchev’s fate a year after backing down in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Either way, the regime will suffer its third blow to any claim of popular legitimacy since 2009. It can’t last.


Putin won’t go immediately but these external setbacks in Syria and Iran will enlarge cracks in his declining popularity at home just when Russia’s oil revenues are expected to decline for various reasons. The Russian people will surely resent how Putin’s shortsighted foreign policies, designed to promote xenophobia, left them isolated from the West and stuck with pariah status among muslims. As in Iran, the direct motive for promoting xenophobia was to rally domestic support. Unfortunately for Putin, as for Khamenei, what worked in years past no longer fools anyone these days.


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Arash Kamangir

If asad goes, hezbolah will be disarmed in Lebanon

by Arash Kamangir on

I have previously said that if asad goes, hezbolah will be disarmed and defeated in libanon. Without hizbolah, IR will not be able to pressurize Israel in case of a war .


FG, Where have you Been?

by Azarbanoo on

I love your blog reports.  I really missed them.  We on IC need you and your contributions.


Evidence: The tide seems to be shifting rapidly against Assad

by FG on

Two things seem to be responsible for so rapid a change in fortunes.   First, a policy decision that has boomeraged ferociously.   Second, an influx of arms which is enabling the opposition at the same time. 

As a policy, the recent massacres in Syria make no sense at all unless the intent was to finally crush resistance by expanding previous intimidation and brutality tenfold--a technique accomplished less in terms of numbers killed than by the choice of victims--mainly women and children.

A policy's successes rests on results.   So let's look how effective the maccacres have been:

1. Instead of intiidating the population it has enraged them.  Demonstrations in once "safe" Demascus and Aleppo have increased greatly.   Fighting in both cities is common in places previously unknown.

2. Even many non-Sunnis have turned against the regime, worrying that they will be blamed when it falls.

3. Military Defections are zooming since the massacres.


Consider today's heading from Enduring America's roundup:

ITEM: Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Regime on Its Last Legs?


ITEM: 0950 GMT: Syria. A Kuwaiti newspaper is claiming that dozens of Kuwaitis have joined the insurgent Free Syrian Army after crossing from Turkey, citing the fighters' relatives.

Relatives said they were in contact with the fighters and that "there are large groups from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Pakistan" ready to join the uprising against the Assad regime.

Calls to fight alongside the Free Syrian Army have multiplied in recent weeks on online social networks in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's top religious body issued an edict last week prohibiting Saudis from fighting in Syria without prior approval from the government.

ITEM:  Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council and former commander of the IRCG, has warned that Syria "is now past the tipping point".


ITEM: Syria rebels gaining ground, strength



ITEM: Syria opposition, rebels urge mass defections

Excerpt: Excerpt: The new head of Syria's main opposition group called Sunday for mass defections from a Syrian regime struggling to survive by carrying out massacres, as the death toll in the uprising topped 14,000.

Similar calls were made by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), which also urged a campaign of mass "civil disobedience" to ratchet up internal pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered regime.

"We are entering a sensitive phase. The regime is on its last legs," Kurdish activist Abdel Basset Sayda told AFP shortly after being named the new leader of the opposition Syrian National Council(SNC).



ITEM: The Shabiha State Causes Horror – the Unraveling is sure to Speed Up.

EXCERPT:  The revolution remains largely leaderless, which in some ways is its strength. For every opponent of the regime killed, several more pop up to take his place. The regime has been sowing dragon’s teeth. The revolution is popping up everywhere now. The heart of Damascus is now involved. When the merchants of Hamadiya – the main souq – go on strike, you know you have lost the conscience and heart of Damascus. The Sunni bourgeoisie has now turned on the regime.


ITEM: In Northern Syria, Rebels Now Control Many Towns and Villages