Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made a last-ditch attempt to enlist the help of other foreign governments at the annual BRIC conference, featuring the leaders of India, China Russia, and Brazil, hosted in South Africa by President Jacob Zuma. This move comes a day after the Arab League voted to give the seat at a summit in Qatar normally reserved for al-Assad’s regime, and formally recognized the coalition’s legitimacy. Russia has traditionally been a strong ally of the Syrian government, and may prove to be the only superpower-ish country in their corner. The Arab League also voted at this week’s summit to reaffirm each member state’s individual right to arm the rebels. The Syrian National Coalition also used their time in Qatar to establish their own new embassy, separate from the now-vacant regime’s embassy.
The tables may turn in either direction if the regime’s attempt to woo the BRIC countries in their favor proves successful. Economic pressure could prove disastrous to global markets and tip the balance of power to al-Assad if he is so as ambitious as to hold economic stability hostage. This also puts a strain on U.S. – Russia relations as the stark contrast with their respective foreign policy objectives becomes even more blatant. Alternatively, the Russian government could backstab the Syrian regime and chose to side with the world’s sole superpower, thus dooming the Syrians’ effort.
Syrian coalition head Moaz al-Khatib