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Sunday, April 28, 2013

How wrong is the West about Bashar al-Assad

The biggest problem the West has with Bashar al-Assad is that to date, at least, he has not acted in line with their expectations.
But the Syrian regime is not in the business of satisfying Western expectations, military or otherwise. And WMD wonks would do well to marry their technical expertise to the totalitarian mindset of Bashar al-Assad, who has reportedly told a delegation of March 8 supporters that he believes the United States will simply back the “winner” in any zero-sum conflict in Syria. It doesn’t matter how he wins, in other words; U.S. policy is too “pragmatic” for Obama to wage an intervention to oust him even if he uses WMD. Obama appears to concur.


When asked why Stalin ordered even his old friend Marshal Yegorev shot during the purges, the Russo-Hungarian historian Tibor Szamuely, who grew up in the Soviet Union, responded: “Why not?” Much of the difficulty in wrongly anticipating Assad’s behavior and concocting policy prescriptions (“peaceful transitions,” “comprehensive investigation”) that only enable the continuance or worsening of that behavior is rooted in asking the wrong questions about Syria. During the days of the Cold War, this malady was known as “mirror-imaging,” the West’s reading of an inscrutable foreign despotism’s designs through the prism of its own epistemology. Yet as Orwell, ever more an authoritative guide than any National Security Council, observed: “Anyone able to use his eyes knows that the average of human behaviour differs enormously from country to country. Things that could happen in one country could not happen in another.” 

Many refused to believe that in the 21st-century another Ba’athist tyrant in the Middle East – this one partly educated in London and married to glamorous wife – would dare to gas citizens of his own state. Despite mounting evidence to suggest he has already done that several times, many of our policymakers and analysts are still in disbelief and willing to find reasons to corroborate their skepticism. If Assad had wanted to better communicate his true objectives to the United States, he’d have said from the start that no option is, or ever has ever been, off the table.
Read the whole thing.

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At 6:53 AM, Blogger HaDaR said...

The syrian front is the ONLY front in which no attack on Israel has happened since 1973. No Jews have died on that front. That's thanks to the tight grip of the Assad family and its alliance of Alawites and Xtians on power.
It won't be like that (and we already saw the signs with a few sporadic attacks along the border) if Sunni jihadists (the MAIN force opposing the Assad regime) overthrow Assad.
Israel's self-defeating streak is not over yet: now they are pushing the Obama Administration to intervene in Syria, which will have a two-fold consequence: end of our border security; death of any possibility to gather help in the inevitable attack on Iran. Once involved within Syria, the US WON'T get into another mess because of the Russians.


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