Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 30, 2013

Syria: The story of the reluctant king and his very beautiful wife

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 4:14 pm

(By Jeff Richards, a FB status.)

I actually find the story of Bashar al-Assad quite a sad Shakespearian tragedy. He was lumbered with his fathers appalling and murderous legacy and then forced into office when his charismatic reformer playboy brother was killed while driving his Mercedes in a fog on his way to Germany. Bashar was an opthamologist who wanted to escape the barbarism of Syrian politics and enjoy the pleasures of a very wealthy European life and the company of beautiful women (Can you blame him? You would have to be a fool not to want that if it was handed to you!). But such are the ways of clans and families all over the world, he is made the leader in place of the dead heir apparent. But as a leader, he is just a puppet of the military apparatus. He earns his spurs in the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in the 1990s (before the Lebanese decide they were sick and tired of being Syrian puppets.) and after that he is crowned as president, a little puppet in the hands of a military apparatus that reeks with the stench of its torture chambers.

Bashar Assad then begins his presidency with great hopes of liberal reform, in the company of a very -classically- beautiful, intelligent and talented wife, Asma. Asma -who grew up in London and studied computer science in Kings College, started her career in Deutsche Bank’s hedge fund management division and then the investment banking division of JP Morgan, where she worked on a team that specialized in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.(source WP). It was a presidency that first looked like it was fully oriented to integration to the liberal democracies of Europe and the US (after all, we must never forget Syria was a major partner of George Bush 1 in the first invasion of Iraq. Syria sent troops to invade Iraq). But Bashar Al-Assads masters in the senior ranks of the Syrian military had different ideas, especially when the treasure that the generals had stolen from their people were suddenly threatened by the Arab spring.

In retrospect, what Bashar could have done -with some risk of course- when the Arab spring erupted in Syria was ride the democratic wave and used the opportunity to imprison and /or terminate the existence of the military elite that ran the show in Syria. But did Assad have the organisational capability to be so decisive? Possibly not. Instead he chooses to go with the military elite and its murderous crusade to end the democratic uprising. A few hundred heads of mass murders in the Syrian military elite rolling from the guillotine would have been a small price to pay when compared to the years of utterly horrendous suffering that the men, women and children of Syria are now facing. Perhaps if his charismatic reforming playboy brother had lived they might have made a team that could have organised the necessary forces to ensure a decisive victory over the old guard. We shall never know.

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