Each of the countries in the “Arab Spring” fell differently. Tunisia fell quite quickly, as the army stayed neutral and the government fled. Egypt held out longer, with the government deploying security forces, but the army stayed mostly neutral and in the end the government collapsed and Mubarek is on trial.
Libya was quite different – Gaddafi, the madman, employed every trick of his arsenal (including anti-aircraft weapons on unarmed demonstrators) before NATO intervened, allowing the rebels to fight back and eventually take back all the territory, including his home city of Sirte, which was pretty much leveled. While some parts of the country (Misrata and near the border with Algeria) suffered terribly, most of Tripoli in the west and Benghazi in the east were relatively unscathed. We all know Gaddafi’s fate, to die with a knife in his rear end.
Russia and China learned from Libya, and have blocked all UN attempts to seriously end the strife. Those that pine for the “non-aligned” world and a “post-America” world order have it right on display – since the Russians and China have to be able to use disproportionate and overwhelming force on their own people should they demand real democracy, the new world order is “you can commit any atrocity as long as it stays within your own country”.
Assad is a REAL madman, up there with the likes of the dictators of yore. He employs the most brutal of tactics, which consist of destroying entire areas with massive artillery and helicopter gunships if they are held by the FSA, regardless of civilian deaths. He has a brutal militia of the scum of the earth called Shabbiha that come in afterwards, raping and killing all (men, women, and children) in the bombarded areas ensuring that they are a desolate shell and the local population is either dead or fled. While we watch the Olympics an INSANE orgy of violence is occurring in Aleppo.
Amid intensifying shelling and heavy weapon fire in Syria’s most populated city, a U.N. official — citing the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent — said that about 200,000 people have fled Aleppo over the past two days.
Assad is basically willing to BURN HIS OWN COUNTRY TO THE GROUND in order to save himself. He is also likely carving out a “pure” ethnic enclave along the western coast where his Alawite people can make a final stand, or carve out a “rump state” where they can survive.
Remember that before the Arab Spring started, “official” observers felt that there were no pending revolutions coming in the middle east, especially since Iran was able to put down their protestors successfully. Instead, much of the region rose in revolt.
These same observers also don’t think that the next step is likely to occur – the disintegration of countries. Syria is unlikely to remain one country, in my opinion, when this is done, unless everyone bands to push the Alawites into the sea (possible). There is no “glue” that holds together a people after this savagery, unless they have the willingness to work together. In Libya it appears that through elections the country will hold together (for the optimistic) even though their frontiers are pretty much wide open – but Syria and then likely soon Lebanon and possibly Iraq will fall apart at the seams. Don’t forget that much of Saudi Arabia’s oil is held in a region of their religious minorities, and Turkey is not far away from a possible spark with the Kurds in their long-running war. Also the Palestinian question is likely to erupt in Jordan and elsewhere – while they were the darlings of the “statist” world because Israel made a convenient scapegoat, today they are likely to be an annoying burden to countries trying to fix their own issues.
As we have all heard numerous times, in the rants of the left, that the borders left by the “colonialists” were arbitrary. I believe now these sorts of brutal civil wars like the ones in Syria are going to finish off those borders for once and for all. This won’t be a simple, fair or bloodless process, as Syria is showing us, but it is likely to be final, as final as the eviction of the Westerners in Egypt was in the 1950s. Resources (oil, water) will be paramount, and it will be a brutal struggle, determined primarily by violence and forces on the ground, with resettlement or death a frequent occurrence.