Exactly what would the Assad government be able to do if a country recognized the nascent opposition council? Not too damn much, is what. They warn of "tough measures" but in reality, they have little leverage if any nation were to start dealing with the Syrian National Council, as the opponents of Assad have dubbed themselves.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem did not specify what measures Damascus might take but alluded later in his comments to attacks on embassies. Addressing reports that protesters had broken into Syria's embassy to Germany, al-Moallem said that countries which did not protect Syrian missions could find their own embassies treated in the same way.
"We will take tough measures against any country that recognizes this illegitimate council," al-Moallem said without elaborating on what type of reaction it might bring.
The Syrian National Council, announced last week in Turkey, is a broad-based group which includes most major opposition factions. No country or international body has recognized it so far as a legal representative of the Syrian people.
Bourhan Ghalioun, the opposition council's most prominent official, said he expects the organization will be recognized "in the coming few weeks." Al-Moallem's comments came as the council was scheduled to hold two meetings Sunday, one in Cairo and another in Stockholm.
Damascus appears concerned that if the Syrian National Council is recognized by the international community, it could play the same role as the National Transitional Council in Libya that ultimately overthrew longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.
That's a pretty good bet, although these Syrian thugs seem to have a stronger stomach than Gaddafi's gangsters. The bloodletting continues by the Syrian government against protestors with no sign of any let up. Eventually, Assad will force the international community to recognize the SNC anyway, which defeats the entire purpose of his crackdown.
When that happens, the real civil war will begin in Syria.