It's time to threaten to bomb Assad's palaces and army barracks

Prolonged crises and the breakdown of law and order only empower individual thugs, criminal gangs and ultimately political militias that are often proxies for outside powers, leaving the citizenry no option but to retreat into the armed safety of tribe, sect and religion from which societies take years to emerge.

We have seen this in Lebanon (1975-90), Afghanistan (1989-2001) and Iraq (2003 onward).

After the cold-blooded murder of 12,000 Syrians and the maiming of tens of thousands more, it’s time to invoke the Canadian/United Nations principle of R2P, responsibility to protect civilians from being massacred by their own rulers.

Assad needs to be given a short deadline that he must leave with his family to a pre-arranged exile or face the bombing of his palaces and that of his cronies, as well as his air defences, and the barracks of his army and militias.