Bashar Assad’s eleven unbroken years as president of Syria have been an exercise of aggrandizement through crime, culminating now in murderous onslaughts against his own people. This should come as no surprise. He has always shown himself completely indifferent to normal human considerations. His subjects have gained nothing from his unconditional support for Iran in its sustained campaign against the United States, or from his hostile policies towards Lebanon and Israel. Only a few short weeks ago he was pretending to the Wall Street Journal that, in contrast to the rest of the Arab Middle East, Syria was stable because his regime “[has] to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people.”
This from a man who rigs elections to give himself a vote just a couple of points below 100 percent. The tragedy of the Arab and Muslim world is that men of such character are able to have power.