Ironies in the Middle East come bathed in arsenic; the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria lifts a state of emergency in effect for 48 years just when Syria is in a real state of emergency. And then a regime newspaper, Tishrin, states “the most sublime form of freedom is the security of the homeland”.

To “secure the homeland” of Assad’s regime – a family-business-military oligarchy – de facto invaded the city of Daraa with columns of tanks. Assad had made a few concessions to calm the Syrian protests. It didn’t work. Thus the regime decided to try to emulate the success of the House of Saud in establishing “democracy” in Bahrain.

When in doubt, clone the Pentagon; the assault on Dara is Syria’s version of shock and awe. The problem is the regime may have created the conditions for a long, bloody Iraq-style civil war. And that’s why all major players – regional and across the West – are running for cover.

Read More: