You Are A Senior General in Assad's Army-Stage a Coup or Not?

Assad’s commanders must be getting a bit nervous-the army is suffering defeats, and Syria now has both its own rebels and ISIS to contend with. Assad seems calm-but as a general, you have to worry that the troops may decide that risking their lives isn’t worth it. So: would you :
-conspire with others to overthrow Assad, and sign a ceasefire?
-continue on, and hope the army will stay loyal?
-arrange for safe haven (Switzerland), and make plans to leave
Knowing when to call it quits is always hard for dictatorial regimes. Saddam Hussein was given numerous opprtunities to step down-he refused all of them.
In any event, what can a guy like Assad do in a situation like this?

You carry on knowing Iran, Putin and Hezbollah are behind you.

p.s. there is no ‘cease fire’ with ISIS, and ISIS is now the only credible opposition - which the USA is bombing for you. Merry Christmas.

So you are extremely likely to be Alawite and the Alawites are going to lose heavily of the Syrian government fails. The opposition is going to be as hostile to you as it is to Assad. So I would be making plans to leave the country.

I don’t see how a coup would improve Assad’s army’s chance of winning this war. It would not improve things strategically, and it would only destroy whatever perceived legitimacy the government has left. Perhaps a military coup before the war broke out could have prevented it, if some reforms followed or at least were persuasively promised, but it’s too late now. Without Assad, what cause does the army represent, for which any rebels would be willing to lay down their arms?

I think we’re a little way past strategising based on Wikipedia.

This is pretty pointless speculation when none of us here know the specific loyalties within the regime -that’s what is going to determine the success of a coup. My guess is that they’ll soldier on.

How far behind you? They are only going to support you when you are winning or at least in a stalemate situation. With the recent heavy losses on multiple fronts I see them pulling back in terms of the physical/manpower resources they offer. Instead they will be thinking of doing deals of some kind with the winners.

The Assad family are Alawites, and the Alawite minority forms the backbone of the Syrian regime, the military, the security forces, the government, and so on. So what happens to the Alawites when the regime falls, and the majority Sunni rebels take over?

There’s going to be payback against the minority population that supported the regime at the expense of the general population of Syria. The Alawites are going to go down hard. It’s not fun to go from the ruling class of the country to a despised and powerless minority. And given the bloody nature of the civil war, and the decades of dictatorship, there’s no telling how far the payback will go, up to and including death squads, massacres, and genocide.

So the Syrian army isn’t going to be surrendering any time soon, no matter how bad things get. If you’re a top official your options are to keep fighting, or flee the country.

And the same overall situation is true for you as a hypothetical general. Let’s say you’re a general and you stage a coup. Even if you’re successful, what have you gained?

ISIS and the other rebels aren’t going to leave you in peace. They’re going to see you as just a new face on the same regime. If anything, they’re going to see your coup as a sign that the regime is weakening and fight even harder.

Your situation within the regime won’t improve either. The Assad family has been in power since 1970 - your new regime won’t be able to claim the same legitimacy and respect. There would have been people who opposed your coup and you would have had to eliminate them in order to win, so your post-coup forces are weaker than the pre-coup forces. A lot of other generals will be thinking “If that guy could overthrow Assad, then I can definitely overthrow him and take over myself.”

And this has been assuming that you’ve won. In reality, your coup probably failed. The Assads have held on to power for decades; they may be evil but they’re not fools.

So if you’re a high-ranking member of the ruling regime in Syria right now, the smartest thing for you to do is adopt a herd mentality. Everyone in the regime should be sticking together in hopes of defeating the regime’s enemies. Later, if the regime wins and is secure in power, you can go back to thinking about your personal rank in the regime.

If you’re say, Assad’s close family, you soldier on because if he can later make a deal to be exiled somewhere else, you can probably go with him.

If you have no close connections to Assad, you make quiet provisions to liquidate whatever wealth you can and get out while the gettings good.

Sure, Iran and Hezbollah really want ISIS on their borders.

Reality is, your US tax dollars are helping Assad (by bombing ISIS positions and targetting the leadership).

I would stage a coup, but plan it instead of acting in haste. Then I would form a large, broad coalition with various rebels groups of different stripes, political parties, include Kurds and all religious minorities.

Then form a broad military force and focus on defeating ISIS, with Assad now out of the way.

And what do you imagine all these rebel groups would expect in return for their allegiance?

By promising them what?

A MacDonalds on every street corner.

No allegiance to me or the Baath Party, just a broad coalition of various different political parties representing different stripes of Syrian society.

The head of this coalition will actually be a member of opposition group, one that has been inside Syria for a long time. Not just some exile, though those will be included.

Nothing, in fact I will not be the leader of Syria, I will include Baath party and the rebel parties from liberals to Islamists and together we will nominate a member of a opposition group. This coalition will rule Syria for a year, until a constitution is written up, put to the vote to be accepted/rejected by Syrians. Oh and importantly rebuild the country, though that will be a long process. Hit up the international community for billions in aid.

I would humbly suggest that such is almost certainly a pipe dream. The likes of the Alawites and Druze aren’t going to long tolerate the the likes of the al-Nusra Front and vice versa.

Could be, but I would make it clear to all to join and everyone will have their voices heard. All religious minorities would have rights. Nusra probably would not give Alawites the time of day.

Good luck with that.