February 27, 2005

Syrian Turnabout?

It appears that Syria had a hand in the capture of Saddam's half-brother. Captain's Quarters analyzes it this way:
"This constitutes a major part of that effort, and as long as the pressure remains on the Syrians, more cleanup will follow after this. It also confirms that Syria indeed had a hand in fomenting the terrorist attacks in Iraq; now, with this revelation and the apparent reversal of course by an extremely nervous Assad, we may see the entire Zarqawi/Ba'athist effort collapse in on itself within weeks."

CQ may be a little optimistic, but this is good and interesting news. Syria is surrounded by hostile powers, its régime is controlled by the Alewi, who represent only 15% of the population, and its Lebanese client state is getting uppity. To add to the problems, the US and even France are pressuring its Ba'athist régime.

So it wouldn't be surprising if Bashir Assad is making a few concessions to relieve the pressure. What's more interesting is the truism that it is when the ancien régime begins to moderate its policies and make concessions is when it is most likely to fall. Collapses of this type are often sudden, à la Ceaucescu.

Inshallah, even if Assad is the devil we know.

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