Saturday, April 07, 2012

Syria's Shell Game

Bashar al-Assad knows one thing quite well - how to remain in power and to preserve his military assets. The UN and Arab League have been trying to get Assad to stop his brutal crackdown against opposition groups looking for social and political reform, and UN Envoy Kofi Annan claimed to have a deal in place that would bring about a ceasefire.

The only problem is that Assad has no interest in a ceasefire. He's looking to crush the opposition and eliminate an existential threat to his regime.

So, he's giving some signals that he's complying, all while accelerating and intensifying the crackdown elsewhere. He's moving tanks and artillery from one place to another as though that will somehow mean his regime is complying with the terms of the ceasefire.

He can move tanks and artillery from one town to a neighboring town, but those tanks and artillery can still rain down death and mayhem - and they are.

US Ambassador Robert Ford released commercial satellite photos of different areas of Syria to show the shell game underway.

It's nothing I haven't expected to see. After all, Assad is working under the same rules his father did - when your regime is under threat, crush the opposition and make it an object lesson on never to question the authority of the regime. It's the Hama rules in action.

So, despite the fact that the opposition has more technology and the Internet at its disposal to show the world Assad's brutalization in action, Assad can thumb his nose as the world because the world simply can't act.

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