In one year, we have learned the worst about Bashar Assad

Rami G Khouri writes: We have learned many things about Syria during the past year, while some other aspects of the situation there remain unclear.

The most important thing that we have learned is that President Bashar Assad is not the modern, liberal reformer that many had painted him as being during the past decade.

The truth is that nobody really knew the reality of Assad’s personality or political instincts. In the past year, since many of his own people have openly risen up against him and demanded his ouster, he has responded with consistent force and the employment of frequently inhuman tactics, lies, and broken promises.

This has culminated to date in the two recent massacres of helpless villagers in Houla and Qubayr. We now know, without any ambiguity whatsoever, what Assad represents, and what he will do, and it is very ugly indeed.

The Syrian president has pursued a policy that requires the continued use of massive and cruel violence against his own people. Assad’s expectation is that he will terrorize and traumatize the Syrian population into submission. That policy has not worked in the past year. In fact, repression usually does not work for long in any other such authoritarian police state that relies on fear rather than legitimacy as its basis for authority and incumbency.

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One thought on “In one year, we have learned the worst about Bashar Assad

  1. Paul

    It is clear that Rami Khouri has already made up his mind on what is happening on the “evidence” of some superlatively creative Western journalism from the Syrian Free Army PR corps. There is no doubt that the Assad regime is repressive-there have been documented reports of massacres and ongoing torture of regime opponents for years-often with the full support of Western “intelligence”. Now that Qatar,Bahrein and the Saudi “royalty” want regime change, Western governments jump to it. Lets take a look at what a Salafist Sunni against Shia new regime would look like in Syria-not quite what the Israelis and US have in mind I think.
    And lets just look at what this imperial war by Turkey, the Saudis , Qatar the USA, France and the UK , is doing to the lives of ordinary Syrians (another Libya?)
    Surely Monsieur Khouri has enough sense to know what war brings to people’s lives?-but then maybe he has other agendas? What is needed is dialogue, ongoing pressure for reform, and support for real democracy and freedom

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