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Civil War in Syria

February 22, 2012

In Syria, Bashar al-Assad and his brother, Maher, are fighting for the survival of the political power they inherited from their father. For months, Bashar has been promising reforms, but his regime cannot survive anything close to an environment that reforms are supposed to produce. The only way his regime can hold onto power is by oppression and the tool of oppression: violence.

Peaceful non-violence protests have an impact, but a brutal dictator like Assad is removed from power only by those with military power. In Tunisia, Ben-Aii fled when the military turned against him. In Egypt it was the military establishment that denied Mubarak his power. In Libya it was the power of NATO and an organized and armed rebellion that drove Gaddafi from power.

To defend themselves, some in Syria have taken up weapons – as freedom-loving people in America and elsewhere would if the government turned into a dictatorship and its agents began shooting down protesters and dragging people from their homes.

The Assad regime is fighting for its life and is not going to surrender any of its power to those who have come to hate it. The Arab League asks Assad to reform. Reforms are taking place in one of its member states, Saudi Arabia, where the ruling family has the respect of a majority of people. But Syria Assad has something less than this kind of suppor. He has the support of a minority religious community that sees safety in his rule and assents in a fascist manner to his brutalities.

Rather than the path of reform, the logic of events resulting from Assad's bloody terror is civil war – tragedy beyond the aspirations of good people wanting an ideal path to political change.

Facing a loss of power, the Assad regime talks nonsense. That is what dictatorial regimes do while losing power. It's what Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi did.

While the Assad regime talks nonsense, there are those outside of Syria who jabber about imperialism and support the Assad regime: the regimes in Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba. And there are those like Russia and China who wring their hands, ignore, stand aside and tolerate.

Civil wars are tragedies, but humanity's better nature in this day and age is outrage and help for people struggling for the freedom of self-rule: democracy.

Copyright © 2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.