We must assume that every actor in the political process is carrying some kind of rationale. If we work under this premise, Asad, in his speech today, sounded illogical, disconnected and having nothing to do with the reality of the Syrian political scene. Asad sounded like a creature living on a different planet.
Logically we should not accept this easy explanation. We should assume that Asad is guided by a certain rationality. Even when he is in denial, even while he is lying, one needs to uncover the rationality behind his speech.
From my point of view, today’s speech by Bashar Asad was a disguised declaration of defeat. Asad was not talking to the Syrians. He was not talking to the international community. He was not talking to the media. He was not even talking to the Alawiet. Asad was talking to two groups. The first is comprised of officers of the second and third ranks in the leadership of his 13 security apparatus and the Republican Guard. The second group is the “newly rich” who are in the league of his cousin Rami Makhlouf, many of whom are not Alawiet. The message aims to assure these two groups that he is still strong and standing his ground. His message is to invite them to support the regime and not defect on him. The question we need to ask is: are they defecting on him?
I believe the answer is yes. The orchestrated move of his cousin when he announced that he is sacrificing his wealth tells us that Assad requested the same sacrifice from these two groups in order to weather the storm. We can only guess what the answer was. But we know that their answer required that his cousin be the first to sacrifice his wealth for the survival of the regime. Thus, on Friday Makhlouf donated his income to the poor and needy, and on Monday, Assad “circled the wagons” bunkering to show them determination and ask the pillars of the regime to do the same. Put yourself in the shoes of these two groups and then Asad’s speech will make perfect sense. You will see how they will jump out faster than rats deserting a burning boat.
We are on the right road. We are moving in the right direction. Just keep on doing what we are doing. Syria shall be free.