Syrian dictator Bashar Assad addressed his nation on Wednesday, claiming that the unrest in the country is the product of Israeli and Western conspiracies to topple his regime.
Syria is only the latest Middle East country to experience grassroots discord that the government fears could blossom into full-blown revolution, as it did in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Scattered news reports are that dozens of civilians have been shot dead by Assad’s forces in cities across Syria. A more full and accurate picture is difficult to attain, as foreign reporters have been intimidated and harassed into compliance, and many have been ejected from the country.
That leaves Assad free to write his own narrative, and according to his version of what is going on, “Saboteurs are trying to undermine and divide Syria, and to push an Israeli agenda.”
Those words are cause for concern for Syrians, as they indicate a steely regime that is prepared to fight rather than go down quietly. When an Arab dictator claims that the Israeli are trying to take over his country, it means he is preparing to deal harshly with those of his countrymen now labeled as collaborators with the “Zionist entity.”
If Syria goes into full revolution, it will be along the lines of the Libyan revolution, not the Egyptian revolution. The question is will the international community come to the aid of the rebels as it has in Libya? Or will political correctness tie its hands?