Somebody, somewhere should scientifically answer this question: Is Assad worth the trail of destruction and violence he and his supporters, domestic and foreign, are leaving behind them? Is he worth the 50% in Ruble devaluation or Iran losing billions because of an oil war neither Putin nor Khamenei anticipated?
Here is my list of major costs to Syrian society, and those of our neighbors as well as foreign nations supporting Assad.
- 11 million displaced Syrian civilians. Comparatively, this is as if 160m Americans were displaced.
- Over 200,000 Syrians dead to include gassing of women and children.
- The cities of Homs, Hama, idlib, Raqqa, Deir el-Zoor, Hassaka, and Aleppo almost fully destroyed. Hundreds of smaller town and villages ravaged by war.
- A sectarian divide that will take decades to heal.
- The formation of ISIL/ISIS, which was sparked by the Assad violence against civilians.
- The literal destruction of Syria’s economy and its major revenue-generating infrastructures.
- The Christian minority losing because of the war, not gaining because of Assad.
- The Alawites looking over their shoulders for many years to come because of the violence of Assad.
- Hezbollah losing its fabricated mask that it stands for the resistance.
- The death of so many minorities fighting for a man instead of fighting for a country.
- Iran has become a target of the Sunni Muslim world.
- The devastating decline of the Russian Ruble (deep recession coming to Russia).
- The oil war Saudi Arabia has started that is costing Iran and Russia tens of billions of Dollars.
- The heavy burdens smaller and friendly countries like Jordan and Lebanon are suffering.
Honestly, is Assad worth the above costs to his supporters or to Syria? Is there any one man on this planet worth the above costs?
All this destruction because Putin and Khamenei insisted on Assad retaining power. All this destruction because many Syrians did not see how valuable the opportunity was in 2011 to co-govern with the moderate Generals of the Free Syrian Army who defected instead of standing by a man whose history of violence is their liability today. My guess, if polled now, the absolute majority of Syrians would select the option of power sharing, without Assad in power, than to see their country erased from existence and their loved ones dying needlessly.
Some journalist should ask Putin whether supporting Assad was worth the oil war and the Ruble tumbling. The same should be asked of Khamenei whose economy cannot withstand a $60 a barrel for too long.
What does this experience tell us about Khamenei and Putin? Their nations are about to collapse under the weight of their own idiocy. It also tells us how inconsequential Assad has become to the country and to his foreign supporters. The economic ministers of Russia and Iran should voice their concerns over their bosses’ destructive political policies.
It also tells us that if you are an oil producing country, do not mess with Saudi Arabia capable of producing north of 11m barrels of oil a day.
I think Saudi Arabia should start a new international initiative aimed at removing Assad and the 150 criminals around him to be replaced with a new coalition to govern that guarantees the safety of all Syrians, especially the minorities. Do not let Putin or Khamenei take another step towards another one of their solutions for Syria because it will also end up badly.