Pressure valve off in al-Assad's Syria
July 13th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Pressure valve off in al-Assad's Syria

By Fareed Zakaria

Over the past sixteen months of bloody conflict in Syria, observers have been waiting for one key development: top-level defections from within President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle. Suddenly, it seems a pressure valve has gone off. Pilots, ambassadors, and even one general have defected. What does it mean?

The general is Manaf Tlas, a childhood friend of Assad, and an officer in the elite Republican Guard.

Tlas’s father was chief of staff and then minister of defense, for 30 years, under Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad. This is as close to the top of the Syrian regime as you might get. That’s why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took special note of Tlas.

“If people like him, and like the generals and colonels and others who have recently defected to Turkey are any indication, regime insiders and the military establishment are starting to vote with their feet,” she said.

But there are some crucial caveats. Tlas hadn’t been a member of al-Assad’s inner circle for a while – he had actually been under house arrest for more than a year.

Also, he was high ranking, but he wasn’t an Alawite. While Alawites make up only 12% of Syria’s population, they hold more than 80% of the positions in the powerful Republican Guard. They are the inner circle. According to some reports, when Sunnis are put on guard duty, there’s always an Alawite soldier assigned to monitor the Sunni soldiers.

Related: Reports of new massacre

But if the increasing number of top-level defections is a signal that the Sunni elite, which is comprised of generals, businessmen, bureaucrats and which has so far stuck with al-Assad, is now moving away from him, that’s a huge shift – and one that will ultimately bring down the regime.

There’s mounting evidence that the Sunnis are weakening in their support for the al-Assad regime. We’ve spoken with a former U.S. Marine Austin Tice. He’s now a law student and spending the summer reporting from Syria. On a recent embed with a rebel group, he said he found that the government’s helicopters flew so high that they couldn’t really aim their  missiles; he also said he saw first-hand how hostile fire from al-Assad’s tanks and troops were poorly aimed and seemingly random. The suspicion among many rebels at the time, Tice says, was that the predominantly Sunni pilots and soldiers were deliberately missing their targets.

Related: A deluded elite in Syria?

Another telling indicator of dissent is the number of silent objectors in the army. According to the New York Times, a growing number of Syrian soldiers – many of whom lack the means to flee – are staying home. But to ensure their continued silence and neutrality, these officers continue to draw salaries and pensions.

Money is the main reason to believe that al-Assad's regime cannot last. Inflation is said to be as high as 30%. According to some reports, al-Assad and his cronies are freely printing money; the Syrian pound has depreciated against the dollar by more than half on the black market. Meanwhile, the regime is running out of cash. Ninety percent of Syria’s oil used to go to the European Union, but sanctions have put a stop to that. Tourism and trade have of course plummeted. And monetary support from Iran cannot be counted on indefinitely – Tehran itself is buckling under unprecedented sanctions.

And there was a report last week that Iran is weakening in its support for al-Assad. An Iranian ambassador gave an interview in a Tehran paper criticizing his government’s support for the Syrian regime and saying that al-Assad’s days were obviously numbered.

But there's one more piece to the puzzle – the growing strength of Syria’s opposition. The Free Syria Army is getting stronger. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now openly arming the rebels, channeling through routes from Turkey, Lebanon, and now even Iraq. Rebel attacks have become more focused, running deeper into the two main cities Damascus and Aleppo. The various opposition groups are coming together to plan for a post-Assad Syria.

The question then is, what would such a Syria look like?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET

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soundoff (744 Responses)
  1. NorCalMojo

    How many more months will CNN be publishing articles about how much longer Assad can hang on?

    July 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  2. Justin

    Vlasov's defection didn't save the Germans, the Cordon Sanitaire didn't destroy the Soviet Union, bankruptcy and oil embargos didn't topple Saddam Hussein. The Syrian opposition might topple Assad they might not. The facts are though, that if they were as popular as everyone seems to want to pretend they would have toppled Assad by now, and they certainly wouldn't be sitting around complaining about the West not doing their fighting for them. Likewise, if Assad killed everyone opposed to him there would be a lot more dead than even the opposition claims; there are some pretty obvious reasons that Tienanmen Square didn't last 16 months.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  3. MarylandMJ

    Goodbye, Bashar. May the door hit ya' where Allah split ya'.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  4. Steadfast Crusader

    This is truly unfortunate...

    My ancestors did a fair job exterminating all of these cretins - if not, imagine how many more of "saeeds" and "Assads" would be roaming this planet.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

      You not a white man.
      You be sneaky muslim.
      You so funny.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • judy

      your tag speaks for itself richard the lionheart and saladhin

      July 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  5. Jerry

    He can hang on as long as other muslim dictators and the Russians keep supporting him with arms & cash.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  6. Johnnie

    The fear of a 3rd World War is very imminent and that haunt the western world and allies and the Russians are taking unrealistic advantage of this fact to manipulate. The current state of world's economy is very unstable and with such a war may end our human existence, simply because some lunatic countries are losers and wishfully and willfully careless.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  7. Muhammad

    So where is the democracy in Egypt?? Where is Libyan Democracy??

    Why will Syria be any different? Al-Assad isn't paying off foreign militants to keep him in power. CNN is a joke and a propaganda machine.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • KATIE

      Ask the Egyptians, Ask the Lybians, ask the Syrians.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  8. billybob

    Um at the risk of sounding completly ignorant i have a sure fired suggestion for peace in the middle east. Hear me out i think we should just um send a couple hundred nukes throughout the middle east and make it a glass parking lot for a couple hundred years. Or a thousand ( don't know how much exactly whatever is necassary). problem solved 🙂

    July 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant in his hindu soul, filthy desire, only one to be eliminated are hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, secular s with their hindu Judaism, filthy secularism.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
      • Muhammad

        Another Saeed is here. For love of God stop pretending to be Muslims and yell non sense to spread islamophobia.

        July 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Muhammad

      So you are suggesting a 21st century holocaust of Muslims…. I hope you remember that Israel is in middle east too? Why exactly you want to kill them along with all the Moslems you hate? If not … what’s your plan of protecting them from radiation and heat that you plan to unleash only on Moslem children? And whats your plan on saving your sorry a… when this will cause a catastrophic effect by melting the north and south ice caps? Ahhhh… that’s too much to think.. that must heart you’re a…. as that what you seem to be using to do all your thinking.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

        Quran (9:29) – "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." "People of the Book" refers to Christians and Jews. This was one of the final "revelations" from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad's companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.
        Quran (9:30) – "And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!"
        Quran (9:38-39) – "O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place." This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • KATIE

      Funny guys.
      Great acting though.
      Did you girls call each other to plan this skit? or is this a last resort act?

      July 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Muhammad

      Um at the risk of sounding completly ignorant
      Yes Billy.... you took a huge risk.. and now look what you got... you sounded completely ignorant. I wonder when you knew before speaking that you would sound ignorant what motivated you to go ahead with it any way? Is it self hate? Islamophobia or your mom dropped you on your head when you were 3?

      July 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

        Quran (9:41) – "Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew." See also the verse that follows (9:42) – "If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them" This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).
        Quran (9:73) – "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination." Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that they are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It also explains why today's devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.
        Quran (9:88) – "But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper."
        Quran (9:111) – "Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme."

        July 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  9. Sean

    Go Assad, destroy the terrorists funded by Saudie Wahapies, who are trying to convert the middle East into another Afghanistan!!

    July 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Muhammad

      You must be going all orgasmic watching Muslim civilians getting killed? Isn't this the Islamophoic paradise you have been praying for such a long time.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

        Quran (21:44) – "We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?"
        Quran (25:52) – "Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness..." "Strive against" is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context. It's also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.
        Quran (33:60-62) – "If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter." This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered "merciless" and "horrible murder" in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to "fight in the way of Allah" (3:167) and hence don't act as Muslims should), those with "diseased hearts" (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and "alarmists" or "agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad's biographers. It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today's terrorists do. If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah's eternal word to Muslim generations.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  10. billybob

    i feel bad for little israel because my plan would eliminate them as well:( o well i guess that is just collateral damage.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Muhammad

      Collateral damage.. ahhhh aren't those the 2 most fun words in English dictionary. All crimes against humanity can be done standing behind them like the drone strikes in Pakistan killing civilians by mistake. Collateral damage it is.. Dosen't even sound like you did one bit wrong.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
      • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

        Quran (47:3-4) – "Those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the truth from their lord. Thus does Allah set forth form men their lessons by similitude. Therefore when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners," Those who reject Allah are to be subdued in battle. The verse goes on to say the only reason Allah doesn't do the dirty work himself is in order to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test. "But if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost."
        Quran (47:35) – "Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: "have the upper hand") for Allah is with you,"
        Quran (48:17) – "There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom." Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means 'spiritual struggle.' Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell

        July 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  11. billybob

    no not convert destroy

    July 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  12. caesarbc

    Asad will hang on long enough, until Al Queda is defeated.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • KATIE

      What is the connection between the two???????????????????????????????

      July 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Muhammad

      May Allah SWT free the people of Syria from this dictator.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

        Bukhari (52:220) – Allah's Apostle said... 'I have been made victorious with terror'
        Quran (48:29) – "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves" Islam is not about treating everyone equally. There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status. Also the word used for 'hard' or 'ruthless' in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as 'painful' or severe' in verse 16.
        Quran (61:4) – "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way" Religion of Peace, indeed! This is followed by (61:9): "He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist."
        Quran (61:10-12) – "O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty?- That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity." This verse was given in battle. It uses the Arabic word, Jihad.
        Quran (66:9) – "O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end." The root word of "Jihad" is used again here. The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include "hypocrites" – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  13. nostrildamus

    Al Assad and Rick Santorum: Separated at birth?

    July 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • Star bucks

      nostrildamus and donkey separated at birth?

      July 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  14. sam kohen

    Israel likes this guy. In fact he has murdered more Arabs than Israel ever did.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  15. Flanman

    You're a total mo ron.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  16. billybob

    damb al queda they attacking syria to. that why my nuclear idea needs to be put into action

    July 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • KATIE

      billybob is an islamist pretending to be human.
      What a joke!

      July 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • Muhammad

        No Katie he is an Islamophobic moron like your self.

        July 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • Katie

        Other than the fact that Muslims haven't killed every non-Muslim under their domain, there is very little else that they can point to as proof that theirs is a peaceful, tolerant religion. Where Islam is dominant (as in the Middle East and Pakistan) religious minorities suffer brutal persecution with little resistance. Where Islam is in the minority (as in Thailand, the Philippines and Europe) there is the threat of violence if Muslim demands are not met. Either situation seems to provide a justification for religious terrorism, which is persistent and endemic to Islamic fundamentalism.

        The reasons are obvious and begin with the Quran. Few verses of Islam's most sacred text can be construed to fit the contemporary virtues of religious tolerance and universal brotherhood. Those that do are earlier "Meccan" verses which are obviously abrogated by later ones. This is why Muslim apologists speak of the "risks" of trying to interpret the Quran without their "assistance" – even while claiming that it is a perfect book.

        July 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • Katie

        Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Quran have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide. This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni's bloody conquest. Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam's Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction. Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent. Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today's Turkey. Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran.
        So ingrained is violence in the religion that Islam has never really stopped being at war, either with other religions or with itself.

        July 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • Katie

        Muhammad's failure to leave a clear line of succession resulted in perpetual internal war following his death. Those who knew him best first fought to keep remote tribes from leaving Islam and reverting to their preferred religion (the Ridda or 'Apostasy wars'). Then, within the closer community, early Meccan converts battled later ones. Hostility developed between those immigrants who had traveled with Muhammad to Mecca and the Ansar at Medina who had helped them settle in. Finally there was a violent struggle within Muhammad's own family between his favorite wife and favorite daughter – a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at each others' throats to this day.

        July 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  17. kalamazood

    Dude! Way to troll.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  18. G

    In 6 months al-Assad will leavel this world just like Ka-Daffy did.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  19. Justin

    I have to agree that the lies are pretty obvious. We are told that a movement that has the support of the entire populace is being held in check by a conscript military composed of themselves. We are being told that although polls from Syria's enemies (Qatar) as late as March of this year ( year say the majority of Syrians want Assad to stay, we are being told that the democratic elements are those who want minority rule or better yet rule by other countries who hold conferences on what the government of Syria should be with no input from really any Syrians (I guess the Berlin conference was democratic too). I know why the likes of CNN and Fareed Zakaria lie about such things: corporate cronyism, more profitable narratives, and an allegiance to the failing "Western Liberal Ideology" that can no longer be supported by facts but only lies and violence. What I don't know is why anyone would believe them.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  20. one of obama's closest advisors in samantha power, who fashioned the "right2 protect" doctrine

    so? where is THE RIGHT2 PROTECT now? they felt the need to prevent a massacre in libya(oil), and yet, when a real massacre is taking place dqay after day after day after day after month after month after month...obama and power and hillary are NOWEHRE to be found. Leading from behind in libya was the easy thing to do as france and the UK CHOSE to lead from the obama's marketing team came up with the "lead from behind" bs....but now that one has to lead from the front, in a really tough situation, no one is around to do it because leading from behind became so coool......

    yep, thats obama for you...cooool, detached, weak, feckless, totally lacking cohones to lead from the front and be a true statesman in the mold of past american leaders.

    I think ALL americans should be ashamed of him.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply

      Why are muslims killing muslims?

      July 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
      • Muhammad

        People in power are killing civilians to stay in power... and yes this is happening in a Muslim country on this instance thus muslim killing muslims. It has happened before else where too like in UK vs Ireland. Christians killing Christians. In Ammerican civil war.. Christian killing Christains. All of European history is filled with Christians killing Christians.. I am not surprised.

        July 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • FEU

        So, because Christians have done it, it is perfectly alright for muslims to do it!
        Well then, how about doing something else Christian like "be kind to your neighbor"?

        July 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • Katie

        The strangest and most untrue thing that can be said about Islam is that it is a Religion of Peace. If every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, misogyny, s repression, warfare...) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be devastating. Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language or life. Neither does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress. It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed. It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism.
        This is what makes the Quran's verses of violence so dangerous. They are given the weight of divine command. While Muslim terrorists take them as literally as anything else in their holy book, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them – outside of opinion. Indeed, what do they have? Speaking of peace and love may win over the ignorant, but when every twelfth verse of Islam's holiest book either speaks to Allah's hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it's little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community – even if most Muslims personally prefer not to interpret their religion in this way.

        July 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  21. Joe M.

    With such a small head, and thus a small brain, I'd have thought he'd be gone by now.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • Steadfast Muslim Jihadist

      and all intelligent people know that a small head = a small brain = no smarts.
      What you can do?

      July 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  22. alzaripov

    What ever the reasons the fact is this dictator must be abdicated. He is the only one man who brought misfortune to his one people. It would be better if he understands that and goes home.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • FEU

      "He is the only one man who brought misfortune to his one people."
      The only man?
      Tres amusant.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  23. urwrong

    Is English your eleventh language?

    July 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Wolf

      He is a big liar. He can write perfect English, but he wants to trick people. My English is a second language and I know fake people like him.

      July 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  24. Goose66

    How long can Assad hang on? Well, a very long time, evidently. It's been over a year, right? The U.S. and Britain were very quick to intervene in Egypt where the army purchases billions of $ of American and British arms, but in the case of Syria, we seem content to sit on the sidelines and let the slaughter continue. I am not saying we should be in Syria, but I would like some consistent, meaningful goals in our foreign policy, please.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Goose66

      You know what, I completely booted that comment. We actually took a softer stance in Egypt than we have in Syria. It was Libya where we and the Brits were quick to pull the trigger on military force. Still shows a disjointed foreign policy approach, but of course, I have no credibility now, so . . .

      July 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply

        That is correct, you have no credibility.

        July 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  25. Tina

    I agree, your a total idiot!!

    July 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  26. Robert

    I think Russia is supporting him because the alternative could end up being the tyranny of the mob, which often results in cahos, such as what we see in Egypt and what have here in the USA where the have-nots use the political system to rob the workers in order to give to the worthless. Socialism was supposed to be heaven on earth for the workers, but in America, it turned out to be heaven on earth for the lazy and worthless and a hell for those who work hard.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • billybob

      you certainly have a lot of faith in the russians. it's more likly that they are just serving their own interests.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • FEU

        What? You thought the Russians were supporting these wingnuts because they respected them.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  27. Drew

    al-Assad's days are numbered. I expect to see his corpse bloodied and in the back of a pickup any day now...

    July 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • alumette

      sounds about right. His lack of wisdom and inability to see that he needs to leave are somewhat unbelievable. His fate will be similar to Kadafi, crawling out of the sewer and getting murdered by his own people. His fancy little wife may need to re-evaluate her position. Right now, she does not look good by supporting him.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • Muhammad

        With billions in her account reevaluating is not a great idea

        July 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • FEU

        His wife is a typical muslim wife. She is obedient.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  28. stephen

    Assad`s only hope is the reelection of Mr Obama. So far Mr president is appeasing the lethal axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbollah, hamas, musslim brotherhood. The islamists are very strong, because we are very weak and only concerned about politically correctedness versus Islam. We are unable to recognize the continuos manipulation of the islamic world: they pretend to be the victims and blame Usa and israel for everything! When are we waking up?

    July 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply

    Spoken like a typical Muslim. That is why we love so much.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  30. reason

    It is only a matter of time before Assad falls (or at least we can hope for the sake of the Syrian people), but will he be held accountable for what he has done? It is about time that these dictators are brought to justice and seen by the rest of the world as what they are. To pardon the oppressors of humanity is barbarity!

    July 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
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