Monday, April 11, 2011

If Assad falls, we will see all the region's alliances unravel

Syria's president is not the only one nervously monitoring the protests. Regime change there will reshape the Middle East

Patrick Seale
, Monday 11 April 2011

"....For the moment, all that can be said is that the concessions and promises made so far by Assad have been too little, too late, and have failed to satisfy the protesters. The last few days have seen a renewed surge of demonstrations that, with their swelling numbers, fury and anti-regime slogans, are beginning to seem like an insurrection. The regime has replied with live fire, curfews, massive arrests and cordons thrown around towns and villages. Some 200 protesters must have been killed. The gloves are now off. In a chilling warning, the Syrian ministry of interior declared at the weekend: "There is no more room for leniency or tolerance in enforcing the law, preserving the security of the country and citizens, and protecting public order." By all accounts, hardliners inside the regime have now won the debate with reformers, if indeed debate there was. The protesters have in turn hardened their stance as a result of the regime's harsh response. Pointing a finger at key relatives of the president – his brother Maher al-Assad, commander of the Republican Guard, and his cousin Rami Makhlouf, an exorbitantly rich businessman – some are demanding not mere improvements to the way Syria is governed but a change of regime...."

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