Moscow seems to be on the edges with Damascus. The blunt words from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Syria is making 'a lot of mistakes' are worth pondering.
This widely goes on to reflect that the all-weather friend of the Baath Party in Damascus is seriously contemplating options on the crisis at hand. Moscow's undiplomatic slang in which it politely said that President Bashar Al Assad has 'responded incorrectly' to the upheavals under his nose should be taken as a writing on the wall. It goes without saying that Moscow and Beijing had twice saved the day for the regime by preempting moves on the part of the Western nations and the Arab League who were convinced to nail down Assad for excessive use of force and defiance.
This new thinking in Moscow should be more than enough to make Assad realise that time is not on his side, and there is a minimum agenda that he has to accomplish if he wants to stay put in the corridors of power. Killing of more than 8,000 people in a quick-fix only to make the point that the writ of the regime is felt is barbarism. Assad, who was widely known in the Arab world as a moderate and one who looked up to egalitarianism and wouldn't mind a pluralistic society, has indeed lost an opportunity. His so-called sloganeering of reforms is in thin air, and the way the opposition and the people have been marginalised is quite unfortunate.
Sergei's remarks have incidentally come at a time when UN special envoy Kofi Annan is scheduled to revisit Damascus. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already said that the ball will once more be in Assad's court, and this should be taken as an indispensable opportunity to put the record straight. The least that Assad should do is to put an end to the use of force, call back the berserk troops back into the barracks and detail out a plan for transfer of power to the people. Moscow can fine-tune its script as Annan air-dashes back into Damascus.