Zakaria: Why I now think Assad will fall
December 1st, 2011
07:53 PM ET

Zakaria: Why I now think Assad will fall

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Earlier this year, I thought the Syrian regime would be able to persevere. It has been extraordinarily brutal and, unfortunately, if governments are willing to open fire on their people with utter disregard for human life, it often works. Crowds disburse; people stop gathering. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been about as brutal as you can get. So I thought that, as sad as it is, his regime would be able to endure.

Furthermore, I noted that the opposition did not have a geographic foothold in the way that the Libyan opposition did. In Libya, you had a divided country; the opposition, generally speaking, came from the East. They were able to take Benghazi. That provided them with a base of support. Syria's opposition doesn't seem to have that.

In the face of all of this, the courage of the Syrian people is just stunning. They keep protesting. They keep organizing. And it appears that the Syrian security forces are actually suffering significant setbacks.

But a big reason I think the Assad regime will fall is simple: It's running out of money.

Remember, Syria is not an oil regime. It doesn't have that much cash. It has always relied on trade and smuggling and some money from Iran. The United Nations sanctions are actually quite effective in cutting down trade. And Turkey is now going to impose its own sanctions on Syria, which is very significant. It will squeeze Assad even tighter.

Assad leads a minority regime that has been able to stay in power by bribing key members of the Sunni elite in both the business community and the military. At the end of the day, that game becomes much more difficult to play once the money runs out.

For this reason, I think we are now seeing the beginning of the end of Assad's rule.  It may still take a year to run its course. But I now think this regime is going to collapse after all.

Post by:
Topics: From Fareed • Syria • Turkey

soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. tudor

    Assad will fall when the people are no longer afraid of him. That seems like it is starting to happen

    December 4, 2011 at 6:32 am | Reply
  2. Who Cares?

    I mean, really.....

    December 4, 2011 at 7:31 am | Reply
  3. freddy ely

    it does not matter if Assad falls or not. should he fall there is another 10 million like him. it will be only change of name ,everything else will be the same. Death, hate, abuse, terror and destruction will alway be part of moslum religious. the best thing is to leave the moslim world alone ,they have enough hate toward everyone and even more between themselves that they will destroy one another when there is no outsider.

    December 4, 2011 at 8:32 am | Reply
  4. I_tried_to_go_to_the_bathroom_but_it_was_occupied

    "Crowds disburse; people stop gathering."
    "But a big reason I think the Assad regime will fall is simple: It's running out of money."

    Maybe the regime can get more money from the "disbursing" crowds.
    It's "disperse"

    December 4, 2011 at 9:44 am | Reply
  5. Christian

    You speak in the level of 1st graders, or cartoons story

    December 4, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
  6. John Culclasure

    Here is an observation: the keys words in Zakaria's article deal with the most important element in this drama - the people! "They keep protesting. They keep organizing. And it appears that the Syrian security forces are actually suffering significant setbacks." That is what is fascinating and what we tend to forget ... these big changes are brought about by populations, not diplomats, state visits, or commentaries by folks on K Street.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  7. Ny

    I do not really agree with the author. Follow his logic, the incidence of police using pepper spray on students would suggest the same thing to US gov.from his the other article on Parkistan,it occurs to me he does not have enough info on the topic and is over simplistic.How would people like you if u send choppers to yr country without permission and bomb your facilities? The issues is much more complicated than the mafia example used.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  8. lex

    And let's hope he iends up dead as well so the world won't have to go through the agony of a trial.

    December 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  9. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc,Int'l Intst'r

    the aruba judge of van der sloot father, with the stein phoney prosecuto, local hospital crooksm and maybe credit union fronts to banking bagging of money including a few po.lice crooks are the murder rings. they only used to offer low insurance benefit payments for travel insurance but they went into exhorbitant plans to murder sawindle it behind the scenes like all those thosands of cases in windsor with chinese and twenty or more lawyers on hospital and other bads service records. in airline accidents such as the boeing brazil crash victim's families were handed 2000 each to cancel out their rights to the huge travel insurance claims. same with other bad case deaths and injury ithink that is a dutch in dies area related to dutch based group 4 security co of hospitals which has chinese partners. i don't know why there is so much insurance money to get still – the money well seems bottomless. you sabotaged the date – it is the 3rd today of december saturday. papers don't print on sunday and the stack was still full

    December 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  10. outspoke

    Hmm !! Zakaria thinks Asad will fall. I think saudi and jordan will fall before Syria !!

    December 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  11. tosh

    lol it is just funny that he said Syria is running out of money lol. it is a country with 25 million population they pay taxes and all utility bills are government money. plus the regiem has been in power for 40 years stupid who thinks that they were not preparing themselves for something like this. ooo one more thing Syria is one of the richest countries in the middle east (rich= the country is but its population no).

    December 5, 2011 at 1:19 am | Reply
  12. Sam Rupani

    Good Morning.

    Syria has money. Assad has $450 trillion from sale natural resources to Germany.


    Sam Rupani

    December 5, 2011 at 4:57 am | Reply
  13. Willie12345

    Fareed, are you still a consultant for the Obama White House? If so, don't you see this as a conflict of interest ?

    December 5, 2011 at 7:13 am | Reply
  14. Who Farted?

    I like turtles

    December 5, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
  15. Willie03

    Good article Zakaria, keep up the good work.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:31 am | Reply
  16. cjjoy

    The Arab spring comes in as a lion , behaves as a lion and will leave as a lion . Why do i have bad premonitions as to the outcome .

    December 6, 2011 at 2:44 am | Reply
  17. Stan Feldman

    Mr. Zakaria,

    To survivie, In despiration Assad might attack Israel. What do you think of that possibility, and how might such an attack factor in your assessment of Assad's ability to survive?

    December 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  18. chris lynch

    JUST How long can a government that tortures children to death last??? Thats what i want know???

    December 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
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