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Syria Is Melting

Earlier this week the Economist noted that Syria was “growing steadily less peaceful”. Today, the slow collapse has become a grim slide.

Last night, Ha’aretz ran this headline: “Assad losing control as 10,000 soldiers desert Syrian military”. Other would-be deserters were not so lucky: On Monday, reports circulated that scores of soldiers were machine-gunned by their former comrades as they tried to defect to the opposition, according to survivors.

Despite recent desertions, Assad still commands the loyalty of most of the armed forces, especially including the well-armed Syrian Republican Guard. Damascus and Aleppo, centers of support for the Assad regime, have yet to experience the scale of the turmoil and violence that has been the norm in cities like Homs. Yet the resistance is getting stronger: even in Damascus, rockets have been launched at Army vehicles, according to Ha’aretz.

As Arab League civilian observers enter the country this week, Assad’s forces have been evacuating wounded protestors and rebels from hospitals to prevent them from testifying. The Butcher still clings to power and the facade of control. But it is slipping from his grasp: The increasingly desperate regime will from now on use the death penalty against anyone found materially assisting rebel fighters.

The disintegration of the army will bring about the disintegration of the state.  If Assad cannot stop the rot fast, he will soon be out of a job.  Like his colleagues Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein before him, Assad could become a hated, hunted refugee in a land he once ruled.

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  • Kenny

    “Assad could become a hated, hunted refugee in a land he once ruled.”

    Sounds like justice to me.

  • Luke Lea

    The tribal, clan-based structure of Arab societies everywhere militates against the emergence of liberal democracy. This seems to be one of the sad lessons of the recent past.

    Europe used to be organized on that basis too, until about 500 years ago. Then, under the influence of the Catholic Church, we adopted marriage patterns which emphasized nuclear families over extended families and made the rights and responsibilities of the individual paramount.

    If Arab societies are going to develop effective democratic institutions, assuming it is possible, then it will have to be in ways that take these differences into account. One clan, one vote, or something like that.

  • Kris

    “If Assad cannot stop the rot fast, he will soon be out of a job.”

    And here I was hoping to find out, a la North Korea, what a third-generation Assad would be like.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Tyrants deserve everything they’ve got coming to them. The more purple fingers we see, the more progress that is being made. I wonder how Putin is sleeping?

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