Al Assad Not Facing Reality
The extraordinary spectacle of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad making a speech calling for the opposition fighters to give themselves up, start a “national dialogue” and fling themselves on his mercy, was a sad confirmation of his dangerous state of denial as his regime crumbles around him.
But Al Assad has easily enough military support to be very effective in the field, and his capability to fight on is bolstered by the large Alawite minority who see very little option other than to support Al Assad to the death, since they do not see any way they can simply join the largely Sunni and secular opposition which has made no effort to reach out to the Alawite community.
The opposition knows all too well of the massacres perpetrated by government forces, and its repeated attempts to frighten the Syrian population back into obedience. Its leaders know the brutality of the Al Assad system, which over the decades has been benign to those who were willing to work with it, but savage to those who chose to question it.
The opposition sense that they are about to start winning the war. The former Syrian National Council has been expanded to become the Syrian National Coalition, which has won recognition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people from most of the world, allowing active support. Many western countries are supplying goods and services if not arms, but the Saudis and others in the region are anxious to start giving the opposition arms, arguing that unless they do, religious extremists will dominate the fighting and take undue political reward wen the regime finally falls.