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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My question answerd

If you recall, i wonderd a couple of weeks ago here about who really controls things in Syria. I held the conviction that maybe Bashar is innocent of all of this and it's just the old guard from the days of his dad's regime. This NY Times story is making me think i may have been just a little naive about it all: When Bashar al-Assad inherited the presidency of Syria from his father five years ago, there was talk of a new era. An ophthalmologist trained in England, the soft-spoken young Assad favored economic reform and openness to dissent. He shunned the personality cult of Arab dictators, declining to paper the country with his image. Last week, though, his picture was on every street corner as Damascus held a well-orchestrated rally celebrating his rule. The posters are the most visible and recent sign that Mr. Assad, 39, has shifted tactics, starting a campaign to consolidate power and shore up his position in the midst of the international crisis over Syria's three-decade domination of Lebanon. "Bashar is learning that his father did things for a reason," says Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma and the Web site Syriacomment .com, who is spending 2005 in Damascus. "If you're going to be a dictator you're going to have to act like one." Beginning last summer, analysts and diplomats here say, Mr. Assad purged the ranks of the military, sidelined prospective opponents and wrested control of foreign policy, especially the "Lebanon file," from his vice president. More recently Mr. Assad's vulnerability became a point of discussion in Syrian back rooms, diplomats say, and that was cause for alarm. So last July Mr. Assad reached for power. He began enforcing a longstanding age limit in the military, sending some 440 senior officers into retirement. He also managed to push out his army chief of staff, Gen. Imad Ali Aslan. He kept his confidants and young friends on the margins of the government, awaiting an entry, while actively playing the last remnants of the old guard against the new guard. Wow, someone has been doing their homework. Best of luck Bisho, maybe you will gain total control papa Assad style and then maybe, just maybe, in a couple of years, you will be crawling out of your own spider hole Saddam style! Keep it up dude, It's a winning strategy!


At 3/20/2005 04:16:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Being the eternal optimist, I have to ask: Is purging the old guard such a bad thing? Wouldn't this pave the way for reform?


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