Bashar al-Assad is finished – that is a given. But 40 years under a corrupt regime that ruled by fear has left a dangerous vacuum
Martin Chulov in Beirut
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 21 July 2012
"The balance of power in Syria was changed forever on Wednesday. Inside a nondescript three-storey building in the heart of a secure zone in Damascus, three security chiefs were dead and a fourth mortally wounded as the Middle East's most ruthless regime was rocked to its core.
The rebel force filming nearby had just detonated a bomb inside the inner sanctum, something that was never supposed to happen in a state rooted in four decades of totalitarian rule and anchored in fear.
Panic was clear in the voices of the emergency responders, whose radio calls were intercepted by the watching rebels. Their frantic alarm, claim the rebels, showed a dimension to revolutionary Syria that did not exist even hours earlier and had never been a trait during the dynastic rule of the Assads.
Even during four embattled days before the bombing, the regime had maintained the appearance of control as a large rebel force advanced on the capital from three directions – the first time such an assault had been launched in 17 months of violence. There is no calm anywhere any more.
Now, with Syria's rigid order ever more vulnerable and its neighbours increasingly alarmed, planning for life after the regime is well under way. That Bashar al-Assad is finished is now a given; far less certain is what will be left of Syria in his wake....."