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Is Bashar Asad a Nice Person Surrounded by a Wicked Clique? Or, Is He the Devil Incarnate?
Bashar Asad’s supporters propagate that he is a nice person but surrounded by nasty coteries. It is argued here that Bashar is the boss of a wicked Mafia type family and that he is personally responsible for the long suffering of the majority of Syrians.
A childhood in a home of intrigue, conspiracy, and betrayal
Bashar’s father, Hafiz, was deceitful, cunning, and cruel. Bashar follows in his father’s footsteps.
Hafiz Asad’s betrayal and violence may be seen through his vicious dealings with his four compatriots of the military committee that led the March 8, 1963 coup against Syria’s last legitimate government of President Nazem al-Qudsi. Salah Jadid, a fellow Alawite, was jailed in the infamous Mazzeh Prison for 23 years without charge or trial until shortly before his death. Muhammad Umran, another Alawite, was assassinated in Lebanon in 1972 under mysterious circumstances, rumored to have been at the instigation of Hafiz’s brother Rifaat, according to Patrick Seal (Asad, The Struggle for the Middle East) and Abdulkarim al-Jundi committed suicide in 1969, although Rifaat supposedly had a role in this death. Ahmad al-Mir was shunted to Syria’s embassy in Madrid in 1968. Even brother Rifaat was finally stripped of all authority following a dramatic confrontation in 1984 between the forces of the two brothers. Rifaat was exiled to Europe, where he leads the life of a billionaire with homes in Spain, France, and London.

The Asads mafia-like system of governance

In its lawlessness and violence, the Asad regime is a family business akin to the Mafia. At its core are Anisa—Hafiz al-Asad’s widow—and their two sons. Shielding the core are loyal nephews, cousins, uncles (except the likes of brother Rifa’t, who attempted a coup against Hafiz in 1983), and trusted Alawi soldiers. Opportunistic non-Alawi soldiers and hangers-on form an outer protective ring. Breaking the law with impunity is the glue that keeps this group together. Dissolve the glue and the entire edifice would collapse. The regime might count on the support of about a quarter of the population. The seven non-contested referendums since 1970, which the two Asads contrived and consistently won more than 95 percent of the votes cast were farcical frauds.

Bashar Asad inherited an illegitimate, non-representative non-participatory regime. At its heart is institutionalized corruption. To stay in power, the Asads must rely on closely-knit circles of trusted Alawite colonels and generals for protection from Syria’s 75% Sunni majority. The relationship between the Asads and their security commanders is one of mutual dependence: Help the ruling family’s hold on power and you will get very rich very quickly. Illicit commissions from business contracts between state agencies and suppliers made the senior commanders and their cronies instant millionaires.  

The Asads monstrous police state

Bashar Asad augmented a monstrous police state composed of myriad blood curdling “Abu Ghraib” type prisons with demonic interrogation dungeons manned by sadistic, well-paid security men. A million eyes and ears snoop in schools, universities, mosques, and offices. Like that of his father, Bashar’s killing machine bulldozes its way through Syrian society. Live ammunition is used to disperse unarmed demonstrators against the regime. At the slightest suspicion, victims are arrested and tortured; some spend years in prison without charge. Others might expire under torture. Wives and children of dissidents are often hauled away and tortured in order to reveal the whereabouts of a wanted relative.
Like his blood-thirsty father, Bashar Asad is prepared to destroy Syria to stay in power. When he was 15 years old, he witnessed how his father and uncle Rifaat savagely destroyed the city of Hama in February 1982 for challenging the Asad family rule. They killed tens of thousands, maimed many times more, destroyed most of that city of 400,000 inhabitants, executed thousands, and forced tens of thousands to flee to neighboring countries. Earlier, on June 27, 1980, the day after a failed assassination attempt on Hafiz, hand grenades and machine-guns annihilated at least five hundred inmates.  
The father's viciousness is matched by the son's beastliness in dealing with Syria's popular revolution against the family's four-decade tyranny. During the past three and a half years (since March 15, 2011), Bashar’s killing machine murdered at least 200,000 Syrians, possibly much more, injured ten times as many, turned three million citizens into refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey in addition to nine million Syrians displaced within Syria, let alone the hundreds of thousands of prisoners in the regime's infamous torture chambers and the bulldozing of most big cities like Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and Idlib.

Bashar Asad's duplicity

Genuine reforms toward modernity, secularism, and democracy would bring an end to the Asad family rule. A 10% Alawi minority cannot terrorize the 75% Sunni majority forever. Nonetheless, Bashar has been propagating both at home and abroad that his is a regime of modernity, secularism, and democracy. But no genuine reforms were ever made. Seventh century Shari’a laws and courts continue to control personal status affairs. His solution to Syria’s drought in 2010 was to order that a special rain prayer be offered to God throughout all of Syria's mosques, a solution all the more devious given his scientific studies in ophtomology.

Bashar Asad's ploy for blackmail legitimacy

Bashar Asad accuses the CIA, Mossad, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brothers of being behind the revolution. Such accusations are not surprising. Arab despots are experts in using fear tactics in order to blackmail legitimacy. The great majority of Syrians, young and old, men and women, who in their thousands have been braving Asad’s bullets and tanks, especially during the first year of the revolution, are not religious nutters or agents of America and Israel. They are risking their lives in order to end four dark decades of illegitimate tyrannical Asad family oppression. The majority of Syrians want an end to Baath Party lawlessness, human rights abuses, muzzled press, phony national agendas, empty rhetoric, invented victories, hollow achievements, rampant corruption, economic mismanagement, high unemployment, abject poverty, and the squandering of a poor country’s oil revenues on conspiracies and useless weapons.
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