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Assad's Power

April 4, 2012

Day after day Assad's atrocities continue as a naive expression of his will to remain in office. Assad's father got by massacring a few thousand in Hama, but Bashar Assad can't rule having offended as many people as he has. As I've written elsewhere, Hannah Arendt was right in separating real political power from the exercise of violence to terrorize people into submission. Real power rises from consensus. Not only is Assad politically naive, so too are Russia's foreign minister (and his boss Putin) and Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Both predict that Assad will not be overthrown.

We shall see.

Military actions have a political component. Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said today that Syria's opposition will never defeat the country's armed forces even if it is "armed to the teeth." Lavrov will be proven wrong not because of any purely military equation but because Assad has been defeating himself.

Copyright © 2012 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.