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Tuesday, June 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Assad unable to stop Syrian protests; regime collapse likely

LONDON — Despite more than 1,400 killed, the regime of President Bashar Assad won't succeed in quelling the revolt in Syria, a report said.


In a report, titled "Assad Reform Pledge Will Not Ease Pressure On Regime," Oxford Analytica said the Assad regime was unable to control the revolt which has already worsened Syria's relations with neighboring Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

"The protests and violence have become endemic and will eventually contribute to regime collapse," the report, released on June 20, said.

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The report said the unrest has become more violent while opposition groups were working together, Middle East Newsline reported. Oxford said Assad's promises of reform and a national dialogue would fail to hamper the opposition.

"His vague promises are unlikely to have much traction outside the regime's core support base," the report said. "The unrest in Syria is intensifying, spreading and becoming more violent."

Oxford said Iran was already concerned that the Syrian revolt would harm Teheran's interests in the Levant. One scenario was that the fall of the Assad regime would hamper Iranian weapons shipments to Hizbullah in Lebanon.

"Iran risks losing its only ally in the Arab world and its main route in support of Hizbullah," the report said.

Oxford said Assad and his Alawite officers would fight "as long as it can even if this means much greater casualties than the estimated 1,400 killed so far." The report said Damascus would be unable to stop the protests, "which would eventually combine with economic and external pressures to lead to the regime's demise."

"The regime can survive the next few months, but in the longer term there is little that it can offer in the way of concessions," the report said.

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