There is a sense in Damascus shared by many diplomats, international officials and those opposed to President Assad that his regime may no longer have complete and direct day-to-day command and control of some of the militia groups being blamed for massacring civilians.
Let’s, for a second, assume this is true (always a difficult thing in the current circumstances where rumour/speculation trumps fact). If it is, that means the regime is well and truly crumbling. It means the armed forces’ chain of command (at least the paramilitary side) is collapsing. And it means the FSA should be able to win more converts, and may even gain the upper hand with a critical mass of defectors.
On the other hand, if Assad really isn’t directing some of these massacres, and the boys in white trainers are doing it on their own initiative…then, well, we know what that means. It’s every man for himself. We really have entered hell.
I’d still be wary of jumping to this conclusion. For months we heard claims that it wasn’t Assad ordering the violence, but his evil henchmen (notably his brother, Maher). The Assad emails blew that theory apart.
But the difference here is the credibility of these reports. Danahar’s sources are “diplomats, international officials and those opposed to President Assad.”
Opposition activists claiming that it’s a free-for-all? Really?
Oh, and one last point. Danahar’s analysis at the side of that BBC story has now been replaced by a Jim Muir report (he’s in Beirut, not Damascus) on the same page.