Thursday, December 30, 2004

Playing with fire

Wow. Even the Boston Globe recognizes that Bashar Assad, president of Syria, must change course or face consequences.

The hereditary president of Syria, Bashar Assad, has earned a reputation for reckless behavior, the antithesis of his father Hafez Assad's careful, calculating statecraft. By his bungling, Bashar has begun to undo all the patient work his paternal predecessor did to colonize neighboring Lebanon. The son has also misplayed the delicate game his father had mastered of balancing Syria's intertwined relations with Israel, disparate Palestinian factions, and Washington.

But recent disclosures by officials of Iraq's interim government suggest that Bashar's most flagrant and dangerous blunder is to tolerate, or perhaps even collude with, exiled former officials from Saddam Hussein's regime who have been financing and guiding a Ba'athist counterrevolution in Iraq from sanctuaries in Syria.