Ex-Envoy Sees Assad as Staying in Power

(New York Times) Michael R. Gordon - Former American ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford, who retired from the State Department last month, told the Wilson Center in Washington on Thursday that President Assad of Syria was likely to remain in power for the "medium term." Ford said there were three reasons Assad had been able to hang on to power. First, the Syrian opposition had been unable to assure the Alawite minority that it would not be threatened by Assad's overthrow. Another factor has been "Iranian and Russian financing and huge amounts of arms coming from both Russia and Iran." Tehran's decision to encourage Hizbullah and Iraqi Shiite fighters to join the fray has also provided the Syrian government with badly needed manpower. The third factor is that the Assad government has had a "certain unity and coherence, which is lacking on the opposition side."

2014-03-21 00:00:00

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