Syria Faces Neo-Mujahideen Struggle
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have won a battle earlier this year (as the retreat of the Free Syrian Army from the ruined city of Homs testifies), but he is nowhere near winning the war. The uprising is quickly turning into a full-scale insurgency - a foreign-sponsored insurgency, to be more precise, which some analysts term a “neo-mujahideen strategy”.
After Saturday’s unanimous vote, the lines at the United Nations Security Council have blurred somewhat: Resolution 2043, introduced by Russia, authorized the sending of 300 unarmed military observers to supervise the implementation of the latest peace plan spearheaded by United Nations peace envoy and former secretary general Kofi Annan.
By most accounts, however, this is no more than a token gesture, which will not stop the bloodshed, but may win some time for all sides to regroup and to shore up their strategy. The status quo is clearly unsustainable, but an ominous silence, at least as concerns the next big moves, has set in.
On the ground, state lines have blurred as well - although not officially, at least not yet. The powers with the greatest stakes in the Syrian conflict look at the map and increasingly appear to see networks of ethnic and religious groups scattered across a number of countries, rather than the traditional state borders that nominally define the space.
If a regime is too strong militarily to be defeated from the outside, it can be torn apart from the inside - yet this is a game that requires great skill and caution, as well as the micromanagement of an enormously complicated web of regional relationships and rivalries.