Saturday, September 22, 2012

Revolution (Forward)

This seems significant:

"The leadership of the FSA has entered the liberated areas (of Syria) after the success of the plan that the FSA has worked on with other battalions and units in order to safeguard the free areas," Colonel Riad al-Asaad said in a video statement.

A rebel source close to Asaad said that the colonel arrived in Syria two days ago. "The plan is that all the leadership of the FSA will be based in Syria soon, either in Idlib province or Aleppo province," the source told Reuters, adding that the move would be completed within two weeks.

If the rebels can hold ground to defend their commanders, Assad has real problems above and beyond the problems he has with his slow treadmill to defeat. Already, as I've read, Assad has lost much of the east of Syria. But I doubt leadership is that far away. I have to assume that this move is around Aleppo.

This would just be the forward headquarters rather than all the leadership, which remains in Turkey. The leaders would still have the option of running back to Turkey in an emergency.

It just doesn't seem like Assad is willing to make a decision to do something dramatic to survive. He needs to retreat to a core Alawite region, defend a core Alawite region plus an inland buffer, or resort to chemical weapons in a desperate bid to wipe out the enemy and terrify civilians into submission--and do it before a foreign intervention can gear up. And Assad had better be prepared to use chemical weapons on that foreign intervention.

Holding the whole country is beyond Assad's capacity. I think holding an arc from the Turkish border (without Aleppo) through Damascus and down to the Israeli and Jordanian borders would have been possible earlier in the year, but is now beyond the capacity of the deteriorating ground forces to carry out.

Assad continues to lose. When does he actually make a decision?