August 15, 2013
Waheeb Ayoub is a writer and longtime dissident of the Assad dynasty who lives in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights village of Majd al-Shams. Ayoub tells Abdulrahman al-Masri why he believes the international community seeks to prolong the war in Syria and why he feels it won’t end anytime soon.
Q: In your opinion, will Latakia be the decisive battleground in this war?
A: I’m not convinced about that. I fear that opening this front in Alawite areas will be one of regime’s traps for the opposition that it has planned for since the beginning.
We should be cautious about the consequences of starting a war in those areas as it will step up the division that the regime is playing.
Its main argument that the war is sectarian started by the Sunni rebels’ side and that the Alawite sect is endangered by the possibility of extermination. Thus, the facts on ground will justify partition with international support and approval, certainly it will be supported directly by Iran, to maintain its power over the region through that statelet.
My opinion for a long time has been that the international community is working to prolong the fight in in order to destroy the Syrian infrastructure. That’s why I think the conflict has not ended; at least this is what the facts on the ground point toward – the inability of either side to win the conflict military nor politically any time near.
Q: Are the FSA or the rebels able to conquer the coast?
A: Until this moment there are no true indicators of the FSA’s ability to win. I fear that those calling for this battle will change their minds later because of what surprises might by lying in wait in these coastal areas.
Q: Can the rebels really win Alawite’s sect trust in Latakia; that they feel safe with their security and future?
A: I don’t trust the behavior of some extremists’ groups that will enter the Alawite areas. It could result in the residents of those areas sticking to their support of Assad’s regime more tightly if they feel threatened. They don’t trust the FSA to begin with, especially the Islamist factions which are known for their radicalism and scary slogans. Add to that the continuous work of the regime to fill them with fear and pushing them to link their fate with its fate, and that his demise means theirs. This is the most dangerous thing the regime did to the social fabric of the Syrian community. Creating divisions between sects help the regime’s survival.
Q: Do you think Assad will try to emphasize the Alawite state idea?
A: Assad will not declare his goal of creating an Alawite state until the last moment. He will not think about making that move except when he is about to be defeated and overthrown in Damascus… but not before the fall in Damascus. The regime will fall in Damascus, not Qurdaha.