Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2012 -- Syria remains an important actor in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. It plays a key part in the ongoing dispute between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and in the intra-religious Sunni- Shia Muslim tensions in the region.
BMI's Syria Defence & Security report for Q312 examines the country's place in these regions, and the wider world, while also examining the country's armed forces and its military procurements. The report's conclusion remains that while Syria continues to retain robust and relatively well-equipped armed forces, the ability of these armed forces to bring the current rebellion against the rule of President Bashar al- Assad under control remains in doubt. The report also posits that realistic development of the Syrian economy and its political structures is all but impossible while the internal violence continues.
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The report examines the key risks facing Syria. These risks include the ongoing rebellion against Assad's rule. The violence being witnessed in Syria risks making the country ungovernable and slowing, or even reversing, national development. Syria is becoming increasingly ostracised by the international community as a result of Assad's brutal crackdown against the rebellion. Syria's neighbours, notably Turkey, are becoming impatient with the Assad's actions, particularly as regards cross-border military action that has targeted Turkish border areas. Finally, Assad has been able to both court and dismiss international diplomatic efforts to bring the crisis to a close. This has bought Assad short-term gains at home to continue his crackdown, but in the long term this may bring him increasingly isolation amid growing international support for some form of military action to be taken against the Syrian government.
Since BMI's publication of its last Syria Defence & Security report, a number of changes have been made, including the addition of the following discussions:
- The deployment of a United Nations observer mission into the country to monitor a joint United Nations-Arab League ceasefire.
- The spread of violence to other cities around Syria beyond Homs.
- The apparent Islamisation of the rebellion against Assad's rule, and the actions of radical Islamic organisations within Syria.
- The rebel's change of tactics from conventional confrontations with the Syrian security forces, to hit-and-run attacks against the regime.
- A summary of Syrian cross-border incursions into Turkey and Lebanon.
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