The War in Syria
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  • Nathan

    I’ve done some looking into the nationalist ideology of Ba’ath party that Mr. Assad belongs to (or heads or whatever), and I’m not sure that it allows for this dictator to capitulate and allow democracy to run its course.

    Assuming that Mr. Assad actually believes in Ba’athist philosophy, every gain by the rebels is only more evidence that he needs to fight harder. Sadly, I don’t think that the rosier outcomes of the Syria conflict proposed here are even mildly plausible.

    The world should be preparing for this to get continually more messy.

  • Kevin

    I think Ba’athist ideology is pretty much a fig leaf. Assad is fighting because he likes being the Big Cheese and the alternative is death (if the Syrians get him) or prison (if the West/ICC get him). If the West or Russia offered him and his forty best friends (and family) a cushy exile/retirement (including immunity from prosecution) he may well consider taking the deal if the fighting goes bad. If nobody can credibly offer him a better deal he will fight to the end (unless his cronies betray him first).

  • Stephen Hartshorne

    A rare typo on ViaMeadia: I think you mean lightning speed.

  • Nathan

    Kevin, that’s why I leave open the question of whether Assad really believes in the Ba’athist party line. If he does, however, it doesn’t leave open the possibility of taking the desires of the people into account: Ba’athist ideology specifically denies the will of the people (for their own “good”).

    Of course, there’s still a chance that raw ideology gives way to self-interest. I think he already has been offered exile deals, though. I think we’ve been down that road. Could increased pressure and likelihood of defeat change that dynamic? Sure, but at some point as you approach total overthrow of the government, the difference between that and an exile deal ceases to matter.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “Ba’athist ideology specifically denies the will of the people”

    Exercise for the reader: Consider the preceding statement in conjunction with the fact that many/most of the Ba’ath founders were members of the Christian minority.

  • Kevin

    @Nathan – Assad didn’t take such a deal when it looked like he could crush the uprising. The dicier the situation looks the more attractive the deal.

    I would be shocked if Ba’athist ideology or the will of the people concerned Assad and other senior members of the regime. I’m pretty sure the only thing they are about is power and money (or similar material factors).

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