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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raising the Stakes

Liberal interventionists should listen carefully to the speech given today by Bashar al Assad in Damascus. It amounted to a declaration of war on the so-called Arab revolution. If the counter-revolution is to happen in earnest, he suggested, it will happen here. His emphasis on enemies of the state, both domestic and foreign, is portentous. To date – apart from Saudi Arabia’s incursion into Bahrain, which was barely reported upon in Europe and America – not one of these domestic revolts/revolutions has led to conflict, let alone war, across national borders, the current interventionist sideshow in Libya notwithstanding. A “Srebrenica on steroids” in Syria could change that. Bashar is said to be less brutal-minded than his infamous father. But he does not rule Syria alone. Anything can happen. Will Libya’s cadre of foreign well-wishers have the courage of their convictions in Syria? Or will their “historic” bluff be called then and there?

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