Syria’s Assad Slowly Moves Toward His Demise
Sitting in his sumptuous palace, Syrian President Bashar Assad can almost certainly hear the drip, drip, drip, like a leaky faucet, of his life dribbling away.
The world is finally closing in on him, and he realizes that to remain alive, or at least a free man, he must continue killing his own people.
He knows that the minute he stops and withdraws his forces to their barracks, as almost the entire world is demanding, one of two things will happen: One of the rebel armies will capture and kill him, or Western forces will seize him and send him to The Hague to be tried for genocide.
That dripping sound is the incremental increase in pressure. It took great leaps in the last couple of weeks as Washington began at least talking about military action to stop the slaughter. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but President Obama did order the Pentagon to prepare a contingency battle plan. Still, every day the pressure increases. Washington now says it will offer the rebels nonlethal aid.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos briefly visited the battered Baba Amr neighborhood, the first outside official allowed in. Syrian troops first rounded up any militant stragglers and tried to clean up the place. It didn’t work. Amos reported shock and revulsion. “I was horrified,” she said.
Meantime, Canada closed its embassy in Damascus, the latest among dozens to leave. Air France ended air service there. Jordanians marched on the Syrian Embassy in Amman. China pulled its workers out of the state. Syria’s deputy oil minister defected, joined the opposition and warned other government officials to “abandon this sinking ship.”
Drip, drip, drip.
The Syrian uprising is now one year old, and by most estimates, nearly 9,000 people have been killed. Assad’s ruling Alawite sect is part of a small Shiite minority, while about 75 percent of the population, almost everyone he has killed, is Sunni. That makes Assad guilty of genocide, the systematic killing of another national, racial, political or ethnic group.
In fact, the Islamic world’s reaction to the carnage has broken down along ethnic lines. Hezbollah, the Shiite terror group in southern Lebanon, boisterously defends Assad and is sending fighters to help him. But Hamas, the Sunni terror group in Gaza, says it doesn’t want to get involved. Al Qaeda in Iraq, also a Sunni group, is sending fighters to Syria to fight alongside the rebels.