He’s fighting against Al-Qaed’a, the Americans, the Israelis, the French, the Saudis, Alien invaders, zombies, vampires, shadows, windmills, voices in his mind… Indeed, Assad is already a legend in his own mind, and had his madness not resulted in so much bloodshed, his life story might have made good material for a mediocre high-school comedy. But the bloodshed, and the fact that the fate of millions is at stake and that a country is coming undone… to describe his war as tragic will be the understatement of the century.
Monday July 09, 2012
Today’s Death toll: 82. The Breakdown: 23 in Deir Ezzor, 18 in Idlib, 8 in Aleppo, 8 in Hama, 7 in Daraa, 7 in Homs and 6 in Damascus Suburbs.
Abrams says he hopes the US is doing more for the opposition than it is claiming publicly, if only for the role the US will want to play in a post-Assad Syria. “If it’s the Saudis and the Qataris giving money and guns to the opposition, then it’s the Saudis and Qataris who are going to have influence when that opposition is in power,” he says, “and the US won’t have the influence it could’ve had.”
Turkey remains widely admired in the Middle East, but the excitement at Erdogan’s tough talk against Israel that made him so popular in the Arab world a couple of years ago has cooled. And for all their military might and economic muscle, the Turks now find themselves with almost no leverage in Damascus.
Gen Tlas’s defection is therefore significant for two reasons. First, although his absence will not in itself be a major blow, the signal it sends to other non-Alawite elites could be important. Other generals may not have Gen Tlas’s wealth and connections; some might still be tempted to leave while they can.
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