I lived in Syria during Assad’s fathers reign. At the time, as a Westerner, I believed that over-throwing him would be a good thing. Boy was I wrong!
I’ve done a complete 180 degree turn. Assad had Christians, Jews and Muslims living in harmony. I was surprised to see most women didn’t wear burkas or khimars. Fully 70% wore western clothing.
As a Christian, I felt comfortable walking in any part of Aleppo and indeed I toured as much as I could. The Citadel and the souk were fascinating. The meat market did put me off meat after visiting though.
Mubarak, Qaddafi and Hussein had created relatively stable countries although they were ruthless. They understood how quickly things could get out of hand. I’m not advocating for dictators, but what is the alternative? For the people of Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq, they got a front row view of the alternative.