Wrong! Assad IS a butcher and runs one of the worst police states in the Middle East — and that’s a pretty high bar. His father was a butcher, too, who murdered an entire town of about 30,000 people when they dared to push for reform. When the mini-Assad came to power, people in the region and beyond had some hope of change. He was educated in the west, was a dentist and became dictator after his father by accident of fate, it was supposed to be his brother.
Alas, within a year or two it became clear that the mild-mannered dentist could be just as brutal as his father before him. People have been disappearing in Syria for a very long time through both father and son. It was THE most repressive government in the regions with spies everywhere. The Assads represent a heretical minority cult amounting to less than 10% of the population. Until recently, even the 12'er Shi’a of Iran branded them heretics — until they arrived at their recent marriage of convenience. Through brutality and co-opting the wealthy merchant class among the majority Muslims, they maintained their grip through the years. Through anything even vaguely resembling democracy, they’d be gone in an instant. After this, they’ll be lucky if they’re not exterminated.
I read you regularly and admire most of your analysis, but you’ve got this one completely wrong. As one who has been monitoring Syria for 40 years and not just since this last time it hit the news, nothing could be clearer. He is a butcher and a fascist and needs to be gone as soon as possible. A half century of this madness is enough!