Soft focus on Syria

Via FLC:

‘Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. won’t enter into the internal conflict in Syria the way it has in Libya.“No,” Clinton said, when asked on the CBS “Face the Nation” program if the U.S. would intervene in Syria’s unrest…Clinton said the elements that led to international intervention in Libya — international condemnation, an Arab League call for action, a United Nations Security Council Resolution — are “not going to happen” with Syria, in part because members of the U.S. Congress from both parties say they believe Assad is “a reformer.”…
“Each of these situations is unique,” Clinton said, referring to the Middle Eastern countries dealing with change and unrest, a list that now includes Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Bahrain…”‘

Uh, yeah. He’s a reformer if you’re referring to the neo-liberal economic reforms that the West is so fond of. In every other category, say, political prisoners, for example, Assad is very far from being a reformer. The ICG report I linked to previously says he needs to reform quickly to survive; yet I find myself agreeing with those who see the Syrian regime as incapable of dealing with this in anything other than a bloody and destructive way. I’m certainly not advocating a NATO bombing of Latakia but the brutality and rigidity of the Assad regime needs to be acknowledged. Furthermore, as Issandr al-Amrani points out, there seems to be a Western confusion over whether Syria is a reforming state with a young, happenin’ president, or a distinctly recalcitrant strand in the regional geopolitical knot, especially in relation to Lebanon, Israel, and Iran. And, of course, the media are breathlessly asking what is going to happen to Israel without apparently wondering what is going to happen to the Syrians.

I bet Vogue are regretting this now:

‘On Friday, the Muslim day of rest, Asma al-Assad opens the door herself in jeans and old suede stiletto boots, hair in a ponytail, the word happiness spelled out across the back of her T-shirt. At the bottom of the stairs stands the off-duty president in jeans—tall, long-necked, blue-eyed. A precise man who takes photographs and talks lovingly about his first computer, he says he was attracted to studying eye surgery “because it’s very precise, it’s almost never an emergency, and there is very little blood.”’

Especially that last sentence, right? Yeah. See how that plays in Deraa.

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