Assad, Going Down

(New York Times) Rami G. Khouri - The signs are not good for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the tightly knit network of relatives, security agencies, Baath Party members and business associates that dominates the country. When Syria's two closest allies - Iran and Hizbullah - publicly acknowledge that the problems in Syria are deep and cannot be resolved by current hard security measures, this is a signal that Syria is in deep trouble. Turkey also continued to pressure the Assad government, saying that if it is forced to choose between supporting the leaders or the people of Syria, it would support the people. The Syrian regime still has decisive leaders, many security services, a core political/demographic base of support at home, plenty of tanks and ammunition, billions of dollars of money, and tens of thousands of foot soldiers. All these assets, however, are bunched into an increasingly smaller and smaller space, and are confronting mass popular rallies that steadily grow in frequency, size, bravado and political intensity. Using tanks to kill your own civilians is not a sign of strength, but of savagery born of desperation. The writer is Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

2011-09-01 00:00:00

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