As President Obama departed for Israel, there came a startling report. Bashar Assad's regime had used poison gas on Syrian rebels.
Until Jan. 30, I was working on a story about reaction here in Israel to the Obama administration's decision to provide advanced F-16 aircraft to Egypt.
It seems like only yesterday that Bashar al-Assad was being courted by progressive Western politicians even as he conspired with Iranian jihadists and Kremlin strongmen. And it was less than two years ago that Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue and Comandante of the Fashionistas, was celebrating First Lady Asma al-Assad as “a rose in the desert,” whose “style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment … a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement."
There are various responses dictators are sure to make as their subjects grow restive and their rule is challenged.
Aleppo is burning. You can read about it day after day on the front pages, or on the websites of Syrians trying to organize support for their fight against the latest Assad. Caught between regulars and irregulars, thugs in uniform and out, Aleppo's inhabitants run for cover, or hunker down where they are and wait for the next air raid, the next suicide bombing, the next massacre. Or just the next bus out. Which could be blown to smithereens. By either side.
Who could not despise the tottering Bashar al-Assad dictatorship in Syria? The Syrian strongman has killed some 10,000 protestors over the last year; thousands of Syrians are now refugees.
"The fax shall make you free." Albert Wohlstetter, the great Cold War strategist, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, said that back in 1990. He was right: The advent of fax machines, Xerox copiers and other then-cutting-edge communications technologies was an enormous boon to the free flow of information.
Last year, as violent strife engulfed Libya and a dictator made war on his opponents, the Obama administration balked at military intervention to topple the regime. This year, as similar events occur in Syria, it is balking again. But as we learned from Libya, that's no reason we won't eventually wade right in.
This past Tuesday, April 10, as the ceasefire arranged by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan supposedly commenced, Syrian rebels posted a short video on the Internet that they claimed showed mortar shells fired by forces loyal to dictator Bashir Assad striking the city of Homs. I watched part of the herky-jerky clip. Near the end, I heard someone, likely the cameraman, appealing to God.
Syria's Assad regime is conducting a deadly and very personal counterattack on its most dangerous enemy: information.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a firm statement to the Syrian elite this week, urging them to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad. "The longer you support the regime's campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor," she advised.
Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, members of the resistance movement inside Syria last week were able to have a secure conversation with a small group of foreign policy mavens in Washington. What they told us boils down to this: A revolution is underway.
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