Video: “It was really like hell”

posted at 9:45 am on April 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed a man who managed to survive Syria’s Friday protests, but as his shaky cellphone video shows, he was one of the lucky ones. Reports that dozens of protesters being killed are substantiated in this clip, as the witness describes how regime agents cold-bloodedly gunned down unarmed people in the streets. “They were aiming at heads and chests,” the witness tells Cooper, “not at legs or in the air.”

As Allahpundit noted, Barack Obama issued a “strongly worded statement” that still somehow failed to include a demand that Bashir Assad and his regime relinquish power. Recall, if you will, that it took Obama eight days to demand Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt, even though Mubarak’s security forces hadn’t opened fire on protesters at all.  It has now been 30 days since Assad’s regime started firing on peaceful protesters in Syria, and Obama still wants to work through Assad:

President Assad and the Syrian authorities have repeatedly rejected their calls and chosen the path of repression. They have placed their personal interests ahead of the interests of the Syrian people, resorting to the use of force and outrageous human rights abuses to compound the already oppressive security measures in place before these demonstrations erupted. Instead of listening to their own people, President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies. We call on President Assad to change course now, and heed the calls of his own people.

So if Mubarak had just opened fire on protesters in Cairo, would Obama have resisted calling for his ouster?  It’s not as though Assad will leave just because Obama tells him to hit the road, but our allies in the region have to be scratching their heads and wondering exactly what incentive they have in aligning themselves with the US.


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I’m sure Obamao is taking notes.

Timothy S. Carlson on April 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Obama is a paper tiger. Syria and other ME countries laugh at his “strongly worded” statement. He’s a joke and they know it.

conservative pilgrim on April 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Present!

he doesn’t have a clue. really, there is NO foreign policy plan, blueprint, template etc. in this administration.

They operate For. policy on the fire brigade principal, they march or are dragged really, from one fire to another clueless and rudderless, hes off campaigning while thinking of jobs when gets up and goes to bed….*snicker* and hasn’t the intellectual heft and it appears no of his adviser’s as well, do either in dealing with any of this.

2012 can’t come fast enough.

imperator on April 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

but our allies in the region have to be scratching their heads and wondering exactly what incentive they have in aligning themselves with the US.

Yeah, obaka is improving our relations around the world…

ladyingray on April 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Assad is using reformist bullets according to the Obama Administration, don’t forget.

Bashir is trying to reform people’s heads.

Obama likes CHANGE.

profitsbeard on April 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM


Obama issued a “strongly worded statement” that still somehow failed to include a demand that Bashir Assad and his regime relinquish power.

Well what is he supposed to do? We rip him for the “strongly worded statement” and we rip him for bombing K’daffy … so which is it? I hope he bombs Assad.

Tony737 on April 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Obama never wanted to be Commander in Chief. He has no idea what he is doing and he doesn’t want to learn because I think he really just doesn’t care. His entire experience with foreign policy before he was President was bashing Bush.

Bolton 2012.

sammypants on April 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Hey, come on. Assad’s a GOOD guy. He’s using BULLETS here. He’s not using GRENADES or FLAMETHROWERS! It shows restraint…

Nethicus on April 23, 2011 at 10:07 AM

This really makes me ill, our country standing by and doing nothing about these atrocities. It’s unAmerican. Bush/Cheney would not have put up with this and at least had a credible voice. Mr. President has a whimper. Just pretend Assad is Paul Ryan, Mr. President!

OT anyone notice Shep Smith always getting in a snide comment about us not being at war with Libya? The non war he calls it. Snort.

scalleywag on April 23, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Failbama is absent once again.

dogsoldier on April 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Well what is he supposed to do? We rip him for the “strongly worded statement” and we rip him for bombing K’daffy … so which is it? I hope he bombs Assad.

Tony737 on April 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM

We rip him for inconsistent policy towards Arab dictators and pro-”democracy” movements. It seems like every decision is a whim and has no plan behind it. If Obama is going to wait 8 days to issue a statement or a course of action, he should have 8 days worth of strategic planning behind it.

Obama seems to have put more effort in a budget speech where he rips Paul Ryan and suggests unicorns and leprechauns fix the budget deficit.

Nethicus on April 23, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Obama will not do anything that actually furthers US interests, so we are better off keeping our hands off. Let’s stay out of this.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 23, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Obama’s foreign policy is to dismay our former allies and to embolden our enemies. It’s working.

Fortunata on April 23, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Assad is using reformist bullets according to the Obama Administration, don’t forget.

Bashir is trying to reform people’s heads.

Obama likes CHANGE.

profitsbeard on April 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM

I’m so stealing that.

truth2power on April 23, 2011 at 10:11 AM

That’s what I’m saying, it seems he has harsher words for the GOP and Ryan specifically than he does for ruthless tyrants. GAAAAA, it’s infuriating.

scalleywag on April 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Those who say that Zero doesn’t know what he’s doing are being charitable.

I’m believing that he’s on THEIR side.

Mr. Grump on April 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

That’s what I’m saying, it seems he has harsher words for the GOP and Ryan specifically than he does for ruthless tyrants. GAAAAA, it’s infuriating.

scalleywag on April 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

He’s not afraid of the GOP…

darwin-t on April 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Obama is busy fundraising. Money comes first to leftards.

Blake on April 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM

ED AND AP – WILL YOU PLEASE TURN OFF THOSE ADS THAT HAVE SOUND? THEY ARE ABSURD AND EXTRAORDINARILY BOTHERSOME.

Claudin on April 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I’m mindful of the fact that Obama did not topple Mubarak, the Egyptian army did. So, his score, so far, is zero. Fitting.

OldEnglish on April 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

ED AND AP – WILL YOU PLEASE TURN OFF THOSE ADS THAT HAVE SOUND? THEY ARE ABSURD AND EXTRAORDINARILY BOTHERSOME.

Claudin on April 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

No, don’t! It’s fun cycling through my tabs to find which buried ad is playing!

Nethicus on April 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Have we ever, in the entire history of the U.S., had such a confused foreign policy? There seems to be no underlying policy to guide our reaction to these revolts. Is the failure with Obama or Clinton, or both?

Dee2008 on April 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

0bama likes the idea of presidenting——he just has no real idea about how to go about it.

OmahaConservative on April 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM

This administration’s whole philosophy about the ME, its uprisings, and its dominant religion is misguided and a threat to world peace and the balance of power. Muslim “charity” and “peace” are anything but charitable and peaceful. ObaMao embraces the five pillars to spread the ummah.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/265437/uncharitable-andrew-c-mccarthy

We are wasting blood and treasure in our attempts to quell unrest in a region shaped and dominated by violence throughout its Muslim history.

onlineanalyst on April 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Obama’s policy is one of situational ethics, not princple. He knows only one thing – redistribution of wealth, with himself retaining power.

paul1149 on April 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Those who say that Zero doesn’t know what he’s doing are being charitable.

I’m believing that he’s on THEIR side.

Mr. Grump on April 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

This

nwpammy on April 23, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I’m sure Obamao is taking notes.

Timothy S. Carlson on April 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Yah, when the sh!t hits the fan here ,he’ll have the Black Panthers and the Nation of islam doing all the shooting for him.

katy on April 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Actually I will go one further Mr. Grump and nwpammy.

I submit to you that Obama really wants all of this unrest in the Middle East. I have to go with Glenn Beck here. If you look at a map, all of the countries up in flames surround Israel. I truly believe Obama wants the worst possible rule in these countries so they will ultimately be taken over by crazy fundamentalists who will then try to wipe out Israel.

karenhasfreedom on April 23, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Claudin on April 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Firefox has this nifty little add-on called ABP. (add blocker plus) I added it, haven’t heard a single blaring ad since, and am back to fully enjoying my hotair experience. Might I recommend? :)

sisterchristian on April 23, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Just as in Libya, we don’t know who these “protesters” are, for all we know they could be al-queda – in which case we would be cheering their deaths.

Rebar on April 23, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Well what is he supposed to do? We rip him for the “strongly worded statement” and we rip him for bombing K’daffy … so which is it?

Tony737 on April 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Those are the only policy options: bomb or don’t bomb? There are no other economic or political pressures that could be brought to bear?

We didn’t “rip him for bombing K’daffy.” We ripped him for talking to everyone else in the world except the American people about it. We ripped him for not presenting any clear goal or intentions. We ripped him for an incoherent Middle East policy.

And in the face of all that ripping he has retreated into the shell of the Strongly Worded Statement™. If he has a clear goal or a vision for what is supposed to be his signature foreign policy – ya’ know, “Peace in the Middle East”; the thing he ran on – there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who would dearly love to know at least its outlines.

ss396 on April 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Firefox has this nifty little add-on called ABP. (add blocker plus) I added it, haven’t heard a single blaring ad since, and am back to fully enjoying my hotair experience. Might I recommend? :)

sisterchristian on April 23, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Some people have no choice on the browser that is installed on the computers they use. A blanket ‘just use product X’ comes off as a bit dismissive for those who browse Hot Air from work.

James on April 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Mr. Obama, time to deplore and view with alarm. That’ll show them.

Mason on April 23, 2011 at 11:02 AM

James on April 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I believe this will work for any browser:
Blocking Unwanted Parasites with a Hosts File

At least it works for my IE, versions 6-9.

Rebar on April 23, 2011 at 11:02 AM

I don’t think anyone has any ideas of what to do with the situation in the ME. Do you hear anyone coming up with a feasable plan of action.

I think we should know who we are dealing with and if we are able to ascertain that we can use them as allies, then provide covert help and lots of it. Once you go in, you go all in.

Our next President should probably be a military guy and a hawk to boot.

Vince on April 23, 2011 at 11:03 AM

James on April 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Not dismissive at all! lol Just ever so grateful I found it. :)

sisterchristian on April 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM

I am not a foreign policy expert, but doesn’t anyone else think that something about this whole Middle East uprising stinks? I don’t care for brutal dictators but I’ll take a somewhat secular dictator over another ayatollah-type.

Questions:

1. Why are all of these countries doing this? Who is promoting it? Where are they getting money/weapons?

2. Why hasn’t it happened in Iran? They have been pretty quiet.

3. Is this a huge play by fundamentalists to topple all of the regimes in the Middle East and replace them with religious ayatollahs like Iran’s?

I can’t put my finger on it, but something just is not right. I think we should just step back and not help them remove their present leadership. I fear that we are being used (or BO is colluding with them) to bring forth Islamic rule in all of this region.

mrsmwp on April 23, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Too bad for the protesters in Syria that they don’t have any oil or else George Soros would get Samantha Powers to tell Barack Obama to attack.

NeoKong on April 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Dear gawd…I thank God every night that I live in a much more stable nation than a lot of ‘em. All politics aside, prayers for all the victims worldwide of these brutal dictatorships…especially during this holy week.

JetBoy on April 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

That’s what I’m saying, it seems he has harsher words for the GOP and Ryan specifically than he does for ruthless tyrants. GAAAAA, it’s infuriating.

scalleywag on April 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

But does he really have a problem with ruthless tyrannies? It is the smaller government, personal freedom, economic freedom advocates he despises. Look who he plays up to (Iran and the “Reformer” Assad) and which ones he disses (Israel and Mubarak’s Egypt). Look at which peasant revolts he encourages and which ones he discourages. If you accept as a premise that he prefers all powerful central government that muzzles dissent, you find all his actions are consistent:

Villify the TEA Party and try to suppress conservative media with the “Fairness” Doctrine here at home. Send SEIU thugs to make Wisconsin ungovernable when a smaller government movement takes a majority in the legislature and Governorship. Assad and Ahmendinajad would surely not disaggree with these actions; nor would the Castro brothers.

KW64 on April 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

According to the video, no one knows who shot who.

Stop acting like the word of some guy in a protest is considered fact

LeeSeneca on April 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

It is a totally bizarre phenomenon, whatever is behind it.

Pelosi et al went to visit Syria while Bush was in office, forget exactly when. Brings to mind the Cold War years, Syria and many other countries in the region were USSR satellites.

Wondering if the ones Ø seems to like have more leftover Marxism… Egypt and Libya went through changes, but some of those ME countries might still look ‘pure’ to a US leftist… you know, Soviet heritage.

jodetoad on April 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM

OmahaConservative on April 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM

He sure likes the perks too. How many five star hotels has he rented out for the royal entourage?

dogsoldier on April 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

At work you may not have the ability to go to MSIE

Tools – Options – Privacy – Then go to the Pop-Up blocker settings

There is where ad sites can be placed and you have to first get those from looking at the source of the site you are at which is –

View – Source

Get the address of the ad sites (which are usually different than HA’s) and put them in for blocking as domains.

Of course you may not have that capability at work, depending on how locked down the settings are.

If you can get a different browser then Firefox or something like Avant which is a skin of MSIE, both have tools for blocking ads if you can identify the domain they come from (or part of a domain in the case of Avant).

On my own system I use Privoxy as a proxy, installed Neil Vandycke’s list, then augmented that with sites as I run across them… I run Avant through that to get primary blocking by domain and sub-domain, then on-the-fly blocking with Avant for pesky pieces of javascript that require fine level blocking, or partial blocking. Once Privoxy does its job, Avant runs very quickly… faster than Firefox with its downloadable tools… but that is due more to the vagaries of my laptop as both are speedy on my main desktop.

I only see some ads once I go around Privoxy, which is necessary for a few sites that have non-compliant CSS or other weirdnesses that make their pages display weirdly with blocking.

Firefox with ABP and subsciption to a free blocking list can actually be counter-productive as some of the blocking on those lists eat up space that is then not relinquished when you close the program. I’ve closed it and then looked at the activity of Firefox on Task Manager and it has sat for more than 10 minutes before closing out, due to the ABP lists. I like both solutions, but recognize the overhead that ABP comes with when you get a decent list for it.

My desktop belongs to me.

If I don’t want your ad on it, it will be gone and I will still get the content. I leave site counters alone so you still get revenue from my traffic, but I’m not seeing any ad I don’t want to see. For really obnoxious sites I will write runtime JavaScript via GreaseMonkey on Firefox… and downgrade my estimation of the value of the actual content by the obnoxiousness of what I have to do to get a quiet, peaceful time to actually read it without distractions. Text ads are fine and I leave those alone, but I get headaches from every video, flashing set of colors, dancing boxes, sliding graphics, fireworks and other junk that I don’t have to see. Real headaches requiring aspirin. Yes they are that much of a problem to me.

ajacksonian on April 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I’m sure Obamao is taking notes.

Timothy S. Carlson on April 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Coinicdence?

Sarah Brady claims Obama pushing ‘under the radar’ gun control

Over a barrel? Meet White House gun policy adviser Steve Croley

(Washingtonpost)

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

The Marxists would absolutely love to have a monopoly on the use of force.

“Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them.

Excerpt from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Insert witty screen name here on April 23, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Some people have no choice on the browser that is installed on the computers they use. A blanket ‘just use product X’ comes off as a bit dismissive for those who browse Hot Air from work.

James on April 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Do the blaring ads wake up your boss? ;)

AsianGirlInTights on April 23, 2011 at 11:34 AM

it took Obama eight days to demand Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt, even though Mubarak’s security forces hadn’t opened fire on protesters at all. It has now been 30 days since Assad’s regime started killing hundreds of peaceful protesters in Syria, and Obama still wants to work through Assad

Maybe he got campaign cash from Assad.

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Just like Libya, this is not our fight. Muslims killing other Muslims is better than the usual Muslims killing Christians.

bw222 on April 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Obama is busy fundraising. Money comes first to leftards.

Blake on April 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM

More specifically, other peoples’ money.

anuts on April 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM

There is a big difference between the two countries.

Egypt is dependent on the U.S. for its wheat to the extent an embargo would doom the majority of its populace to starvation.

Kermit on April 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM

it took Obama eight days to demand Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt, even though Mubarak’s security forces hadn’t opened fire on protesters at all. It has now been 30 days since Assad’s regime started killing hundreds of peaceful protesters in Syria, and Obama still wants to work through Assad

Maybe he got campaign cash from Assad.

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Perhaps Syria has the George Soros seal of approval?

Little Bammie is more likely terrified of Syria and Assad. He can dabble with his R2P horsecrap in Lybia and probably get away with it, but if he messes with Syria, that means messing with Iran and Lebanon, and they are big enough to bring down his sorry excuse for a presidency.

slickwillie2001 on April 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Maybe Plastik Fantastik Pelosi can lead another “good will tour” of left-wing appeasers to meet the “optometrist/reformer” in Syria as she did in 2007 against State Department warning [against cognitive dissonance?]. That should get to the heart of the matter and still the roiling waters

talking stick on April 23, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Syria better be careful or Obama will send the French in to kick their butts…or something.

Wyznowski on April 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

As with any bully, the target those they don’t feel are a threat and steer clear of those who will stand up to them.

Obama is no different than any other playground bully. His playground just happens to be the world stage.

ButterflyDragon on April 23, 2011 at 12:04 PM

katy on April 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM

That won’t last very long. I doubt those bullies will survive a week in flyover country.

chemman on April 23, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I hope he bombs Assad.

Tony737 on April 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I can’t believe you didn’t get it. “A strongly worded statement” would have included an admonition to relinquish power and step down from his dictatorship. The Ø statement didn’t include that much strength. The quoted words should have tipped you off that the quoted phrase is being mocked; call it hyperbole or sarcasm.
.
Why would we bomb Syria when we can’t manage a coherent strategy in Libya with our NATO allies? “Bomb Syria” really is off the charts and nobody (I hope) is really seriously singing that song.

ExpressoBold on April 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Failbama is absent once again.

dogsoldier on April 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

I’m so borrowing that.

(If you don’t mind, that is..)

Chip on April 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

According to the video, no one knows who shot who.

Stop acting like the word of some guy in a protest is considered fact

LeeSeneca on April 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Which side has most of the guns?

Why does this always seem to be an issue when only the government has them?

Why are the Democrats always working towards this goal?

Chip on April 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

dogsoldier on April 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

In this economy while we are cutting back he is spending like there is no tomorrow indulging his and queen too-much-junk’s every whim.

OmahaConservative on April 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM

You mean other tyrants might learn certain lessons from Barry’s handling of Iran’s protestors?!??

aikidoka on April 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

How does that suit stand up all by itself with no one it?

Tim_CA on April 23, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Drudge reporting 120 killed now. Snipers. Killing mourners at funerals. Insanity.

scalleywag on April 23, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Muslims killing Muslims instead of Muslims killing Christians and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists? Cry me a river.

Heckle on April 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM

120 killed now? How many tens of millions of non-Muslims have been killed by Muslims over the years? As long as it’s Muslim men killing Muslim men, I do not care.

Heckle on April 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

I much prefer Hussein Louie issuing a “strongly worded statement” than getting us into yet another war for Muslims. Let some of the 57 Muslim states intervene rather than Uncle Sap.

Heckle on April 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Anderson Cooper – Are you frighten?
Witness – Yes

This is journalism?

And yes, Obama is with Assad. Strongly worded letter.

Kini on April 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Man,they take funerals to a new level!

Good Gawd,being alive and life itself means
nothing!!

canopfor on April 23, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Interventists/Progressivists
================================

Samantha and Her Subjects
April 19, 2011
***************

HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION

—the conviction that American presidents must act, preemptively if necessary, to avert the massacre of innocents abroad—is steadily acquiring a new prominence in the Obama administration.

For America’s foreign-policy elite, it is a precept that provides a way to expiate the sins of the past, either bellicose action (Vietnam) or complacent inaction (Rwanda). It not only holds out the expectation of protecting endangered civilians but also the promise of acting multilaterally to uphold international laws.(More………..)

http://nationalinterest.org/article/samantha-her-subjects-5161

canopfor on April 23, 2011 at 1:14 AM

canopfor on April 23, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Crap,should be Interventionists,not,Interventists!

canopfor on April 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Dire Straits has a good link!!
========================================

The Stakes in Syria, and Obama’s Silence
Max Boot 04.21.2011 – 12:35 PM
***********************

Until now I have not been overly critical of the Obama administration’s response to the Arab Spring. Although the president has often been tardy and hesitant, he has generally done the right thing by backing the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen in their desire to be rid of hated dictators. What I find puzzling, even inexplicable, is his failure to speak out more forcefully on behalf of the Syrian people who are in open revolt against one of the most anti-American dictators in the entire region.

Bashar Assad is an integral part of the Iranian strategy to dominate the region; without Syrian help, the Iranians would be hard put to funnel support to Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups that are much closer to Damascus than they are to Tehran. The Assad regime has even gone so far as to connive in the murder and kidnapping of Americans, from Lebanon in the 1980s to Iraq more recently.

In the case of Egypt, it is not that hard to imagine that a future government will be a lot less friendly to Western interests than Hosni Mubarak was. In the case of Syria, it’s hard to imagine that any future regime could be more hostile to the West than the Assad regime.

Even if some type of Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime takes over in Syria—which is a possible if not probable outcome—it would probably still be a win for the West, because it would not as easy for a Sunni leader to cooperate with Shiite Iran as it is for the Alawites now in power. (The Alawites are a Shiite sect.)

Israelis are understandably perturbed by the possibility of turmoil on their border but they should understand that what has kept Syria from openly attacking Israel since 1973 (there was also a short, sharp dust-up in 1982 which cost the Syrians a significant part of their air force and air defenses) is not any softening on the part of the Assad regime; it is sheer terror of Israeli retaliation. Even while avoiding a frontal clash with the IDF, Assad has been funneling copious quantities of aid to Hezbollah and Hamas, among other groups, which they can then use against Israel. He has also plotted to develop nuclear weapons—or at least he did until Israeli aircraft bombed his reactor in 2007.

Presumably any future Syrian regime—unless it is run by suicidal lunatics who would make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look rational and cautious by comparison—would be equally deterred from openly attacking Israel. It is just possible, moreover, that a successor to Assad might actually be less hostile to the “Zionist entity,” or at least might put less emphasis on anti-Zionism as a cornerstone of Syrian policy, choosing to pursue domestic development instead. It is possible, too, that Assad’s successor may choose to give up Syria’s decades-old quest to dominate Lebanon (whose independence many Syrians still refuse to accept).

If this were to come to pass, there would be a huge strategic swing in the Middle East away from the radical bloc led by Iran and toward the more pro-Western side. Those are the stakes in Syria. They could not be any bigger.

Given how much the U.S. stands to benefit from Assad’s downfall, it is downright curious that President Obama has been so mealy-mouthed and hesitant in speaking and acting in favor of the demonstrators. Why isn’t he condemning the slaughter of innocent protesters more loudly? Why isn’t he orchestrating international sanctions against the Assad regime? Why isn’t he freezing the assets of Assad and his retainers and referring them for international prosecution? Why isn’t he sending non-military aid to regime opponents?

There is no need for military action but there is much more we could do at this stage to encourage the peaceful overthrow of the dictator in Damascus. That Obama isn’t doing any of it is simply a head-scratcher.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/04/21/stakes-in-syria-and-obamas-silence/

canopfor on April 23, 2011 at 4:04 PM

ajacksonian on April 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Duhhh. Why didn’t I think of that?

Thanks for the tips!

Saltysam on April 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Insert witty screen name here on April 23, 2011 at 11:29 AM

It’s a good thing Syria has near total gun control!
Only those connected with and license by the Syrian government can own guns!
Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population – World Ranking
In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 179 countries, Syria ranks at No. 1122

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population – World Ranking

Syria 112
Egypt 115
China 102
Canada 13
Libya 40
Mexico 42
North Korea 164
Switzerland 3
United States 1

If only I were smart enough to spot a pattern here!

source http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/179/rate_of_privately_owned_firearms_-_world_ranking/194,178,243,113

DSchoen on April 23, 2011 at 6:12 PM

“who managed to survive”? Isn’t that a bit of hyperbole? Remember what happened to Hama? This is terrible but not nearly on that scale.

The emphasis should be on the size of the demonstrations and the courage of these people to seek freedom. Let’s just hope this doesn’t end up being another Islamic Revolution on the lines of Iran’s.

flataffect on April 23, 2011 at 8:08 PM

The real reason for the flare-ups in the middle east?
Obama is a wuss, and they know it.

docjohn52 on April 23, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Obama and the UN, both are slow to act, take forever to make a decision, and then makes a total mess of the project they decided to under take.

old war horse on April 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM

It’s amazing how large an area of the planet just sucks. Glad to live in a part of that isn’t a total hell hole. Yet.

TheBlueSite on April 24, 2011 at 2:48 AM

The Obama Doctrine and his “strongly worded statements.”
Words. Just words.

BigAlSouth on April 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Apparently Obama never learned the old nursery rhyme:

Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will never hurt me!

Tyrants know this well, and they’re completely comfortable ignoring “strongly worded letters” from someone who is considered a “buffoon” by the International community.

landlines on April 24, 2011 at 1:50 PM