How to bring down Assad


In this think tank piece, a renowned expert on the Middle East lays out the potential ramifications of Bush's policy of Constructive Instability regarding Lebanon and Syria.  Bush's playbook to bring down Assad would include these sources of instability:
Alawite elders, aghast at how Bashar has placed Syria in the international crosshairs, may decide to replace him with someone who truly inherited Hafiz al—Asad's political acumen; some brigadier general, outraged at the embarrassment of Syria's forced departure from Lebanon, may try to move against his corrupt superiors; thousands of Syrian workers, kicked out of Lebanon by emboldened Lebanese patriots, return to Homs, Hama, and Aleppo to find no jobs and no safety net and vent their frustration in antiregime riots. Once these processes start, no one can know for sure how they end and what the repercussions really are.
The writer counsels Washington to capitalize on these possibilities by focusing resources  on three key items:
  1) invest in intelligence about the dynamics of political, social and economic life inside Syria—so we can be better prepared than we were in Iraq;
  2) offer no lifelines to the regime—in the past when Syria has been in extremis they have offered minor cosmetic concessions to deflect pressure, only to return to malevolent behavior when the pressure eases;
  3) start talking about democracy, rule of law and human rights inside Syria: as people pwoer takes hold in the region, many people are primed to respond to these issues.
The entire piece is relatively brief and contains some compelling tips on how to bring down one more Middle Eastern dictator.
Ed Lasky   3 17 05