Syria and Regional Round-up

15/08/2012 6:30 pm

Dr Harry Hagopian, the Bishops' Consultant on the Middle East

In today's Middle East Analysis podcast, Bishops' consultant on the MENA region Dr Harry Hagopian looks at the prospect of a post-Assad Syria, discusses women of the MENA region at London 2012 and touches on events in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. 

...on the next chapter for Syria

"The infrastructure and institutions are there and we should avoid doing in Syria what we did in Iraq - where we dismantled the army and those institutions thinking we could build them up again the way we thought we should do it. That was the death knell for Iraq. In Syria people have learnt that and they are going to use the existing structures to build up a better Syria and move it forward..."

"When you talk about the army, people say 'How can you rely on an army that has been shelling, killing and bombing civilians and lightly-armed people? How can we use this army as part of a post-Assad Syria?' My answer is very simple. The Syrian army consists of 13 or 14 brigades out of which only three or four at most have been used during this 17-month period and have directed their arms against the people. You might ask 'Why does Assad, if he's in such a bad situation, not deploy the whole formidable arsenal that he has at his disposal?' The reason is that he is deploying those brigades he trusts. The other [brigades], he's worried they might defect therefore they're being kept in their barracks. Those soldiers have not bloodied their hands with the deaths of Syrians. These are the people who will form the backbone of Syria and will work with the institutions and, hopefully, pluralistic political set up in order to take Syria into a better future."

This and much more on today's Middle East Analysis. The full podcast can be downloaded/played at the top right-hand corner of this page.

Duration: 27m 27s


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Dr Harry Hagopian



A post-Olympic Middle East Analysis on the Feast of the Assumption. Bishops' Consultant on the MENA region Dr Harry Hagopian looks at Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia as well as women at London 2012.   mena-23.mp3 12.29 MB