|Restored Libyan Flag|
|Soon to be Syrian flag again|
The Libyan revolution saw the restoration of the pre-Gadaffi flag . Today in yet another tumultuous demonstration in Syria, I saw that the crowds had swapped the Assad-era flag of Red-White-Black with two green stars on the white stripe, for the flag above.
As the news comes in of a major attack against the feared Air Force intelligence by the Free Syrian Army, it is increasingly clear that Bashar Al-Assad is losing his grip on power. An ambush earlier this week, again said to have been carried out by the FSA, left 34 government soldiers dead.
France has recalled its ambassador, and the country now faces increasing isolation and probable sanctions if the situation continues to get worse. It is really only a question of time before the regime must fall, and if Assad wants to avoid the fate of Gadaffi, then he should open negotiations as soon as he can. Yet, he remains his bloodthirsty fathers trusted son and anointed successor. The brutality he has already shown has lost him the chance of any congenial exile in London- his wife's birthplace, and with the Arab League now imposing sanctions, the list of places of sanctuary grows short indeed: Iran is his only ally, and that country is also increasingly unstable.
So there is still every chance that the cornered Assad will chose to fight to the death. He may well succeed in dying, but he will do a lot of damage in his ruin.
Of course I welcome another step in the liberation of the Arab world- whatever the future may bring, the regimes that are tottering or which have fallen already can hardly be mourned. Sometimes the West has seemed rather conflicted- wanting to see the fall of tyrants, yet concerned about stability and energy security in the region. It is the same hypocrisy that saw Western governments become increasingly equivocal with the liberation movements in the Soviet Union or East Germany- preferring the certainty of stasis to the uncertainty of the fall of Gorbachev.
On the other hand, as the "Occupy..." movements show, there is increasing anger being directed towards our own political class. The cadre of professional politicians that dominates European Union governments may not be tyrannical, but is is proving ever more incompetent.
Revolution is sweeping away the certainties of the post colonial world in the Arab world. It seems to me that the political, economic and social failure of Europe will see a new reality emerge here too- it may not be revolutionary in the strictest sense, but it is certainly going to be radical.