June 14, 2011

YOU CAN'T BLAME THEM FOR THINKING THE FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT WON'T MIND....:

Syria: Where Massacre Is a Family Tradition: The mask of the Assad regime finally falls, and the world is forced to confront its illusions about Iran's ally and Hezbollah's patron. (FOUAD AJAMI, 6/13/11, WSJ)

Syria's rulers were Alawites, schismatics, to the Sunni purists a heresy. Yet as America battled to put a new order in Iraq in place, Syria was the point of transit for Sunni jihadists from other Arab lands keen to make their way there to kill and be killed. The American project there was being bloodied, and this gave the Syrians a reprieve, for they feared they would be next if Washington looked beyond Iraq for other targets.

It was that sordid game that finally convinced George W. Bush that the Syrians had to pay a price for their duplicity. The American support for the 2005 "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon then followed, and the Syrians made a hasty retreat. In time they would experience a seller's remorse, and they would try to regain what they had given up under duress.

Barack Obama provided the Syrian dictatorship with a diplomatic lifeline. He was keen to "engage" Tehran and Damascus, he was sure that Syrian radicalism had been a response to the heavy hand of the Bush administration. An American ambassador was dispatched to Damascus, and an influential figure in the Democratic Party, Sen. John Kerry, made it his calling to argue that the young Syrian ruler was, at heart, a "reformer" eager to sever his relations with Iran and Hezbollah.

The Arab Spring upended all that. It arrived late in Syria, three months after it had made its way to Tunisia and Egypt, one month after Libya's revolt. A group of young boys in the town of Deraa, near the border with Jordan, had committed the cardinal sin of scribbling antiregime graffiti. A brittle regime with a primitive personality cult and a deadly fault-line between its Alawite rulers and Sunni majority responded with heavy-handed official terror. The floodgates were thrown open, the Syrian people discovered within themselves new reservoirs of courage, and the rulers were hell-bent on frightening the population into their old state of submission.

Until the Arab Spring, nothing had stirred in Syria in nearly three decades. President Hafez al-Assad and his murderous younger brother Rifaat had made an example of Hama in 1982 when they stamped out a popular uprising by leveling much of the city and slaughtering thousands. Now, the circle is closed. President Bashar al-Assad and his younger brother Maher, commander of the Republican Guard, are determined to subdue this new rebellion as their father did in Hama—one murder at a time. In today's world it's harder to turn off the lights and keep tales of repression behind closed doors, but the Assads know no other way. Massacre is a family tradition.


...since it never has in the past.

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Posted by at June 14, 2011 6:21 AM
  

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