Israel: March 3, 2005

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Syrian President Bashar Assad is afraid he will end up like Saddam Hussein. Both of these men have led their national Baath Parties. Saddam lost control, and Assad is losing it. Assad's father was Saddam's contemporary. The elder Assad's untimely death put Bashar in command, but not in control, of Syria. His dad's cronies control most of the bureaucracy, armed forces and security organizations. There is no agreement among all these chiefs about what to do to stay in power. Thus we have the bizarre contrast of  Syrian police turning over Saddam's half-brother and 30 of his henchmen, while Syrian agents facilitate the assassination of  a prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician, and a suicide bombing inside Israel. All within two weeks. No senior Syrians will admit that no one is completely in control in Syria.  It is feared that there may be a coup, as some of the senior generals and security officials push  Bashar Assad aside and take over. Bashar is seen by his father's old timers as too inexperienced. But the problem is that Syria is simply in a very bad situation. Like Iraq, Syria adopted the Baath Party to run the country decades ago. Like Iraq, the socialist dictatorship of the Baath Party led to corruption and economic decline. This has made enemies of Syria's neighbors, and the Syrian people. The Syrian Baath Party has run out of credit, and credibility. The bill is now due, and no one wants to pay.

 

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