Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bashar's end?

The sight of Muammar Gaddafi's battered body lying in a meat locker in Misrata should have given Pres. Bashar Assad of Syria nightmares. Let's hope so. It is a suitable if grim end to Gaddafi's career as the "mad-dog" of the Arab world.

Today was an important day in the Syrian crisis, since the US withdrew its Ambassador to Syria, because he was being harrassed by Bashar's goons, and Syria retaliated by withdrawing their Ambassador from Washington. Also, Assad issued a warning to King Abdullah of Jordan, not to cooperate with any foreign countries, i.e. the US or NATO, against Syria, otherwise Syria will invade Jordan. The last time I remember that Syria threatened to invade Jordan was back in 1981 when Israel threatened, with US support, that it would consider a Syrian armed invasion of Jordan as a causus belli, and would attack the invading forces. That made Assad (the father) hesitate and then pull back. It is not inconceivable that if Assad (the son) finds that his back is against the wall from his internal opposition, then he might attack Jordan or do some other irrational act, if only to change the nature of the game.

Hizbollah and Iran are still supporting Assad, although they have both issued conciliatory statements to urge Assad to negotiate with the opposition or enact reforms. Turkey has gone even further, having openly taken up the cause of the opposition and allowing them to meet on its territory. In this event, PM Erdogan has taken a political move that will make him popular in the Arab world if Assad is overthrown. But, at the same time 20 Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by the Kurdish PKK party, so he has sent a Turkish force into Iraq to attack the PKK garrisons. This will not make him popular with the Iraqi Arabs. It's all a political game.

Anyway, I'm still thinking of Bashar Assad lying dead in a meat locker in Homs. Wishful thinking. The problem is what will replace him.


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