Spare the Syrians, Mr Assad
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam counsels Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to step down and spare the lives of large numbers of his countrymen.
Dictators are pigheaded megalomaniacs who think with their muscles rather than with their minds. For these power-drunk guys people don’t matter. What matters is their own power.
Look at the typical dictators: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Shah of Iran, Saddam, Ben Ali, Gaddafi, Mubarak, Assad (father and son). They never learn. They are impervious to logic, deaf to all argument, except their own.
Saddam did not learn from his repeated setbacks. He had the “satisfaction” of seeing a sizeable part of his family butchered before he was led to the gallows. Worse, his pigheadedness led to the death of a million Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq war (Iranians too lost as many people).
His invasion of Kuwait and Allied Forces’ attack on his army led to the decimation of entire Iraqi brigades and divisions, in addition to massive civilian casualties and untold sufferings. After that came the US-led sanctions, which became the cause of death of half a million Iraqi children for the lack of food and medicine.
Saddam’s refusal to leave Iraq (with all the wealth he wanted and all his cronies) and go to settle in Russia with full Russian support led to the war in which Iraq was occupied and a million Iraqis butchered, including Saddam and his dear ones. Dictators can be that pigheaded.
The Shah of Iran was as ruthless as any other dictator, and he met a less gruesom end, but his Pehlavi dynasty ended with him.
Libya’s Gaddafi was no better and met with a horrendous end like Saddam. A similar fate is awaiting Assad if he does not negotiate an early settlement, hand power to a successor dispensation that works as an interim government before handing over power to an elected government. The election has to be fair and open, not the sham polls that dictators are experts at staging.
Time is running out for this dictator son of a dictator father. He is running a “democracy”, which has presidents and prime ministers appointed for a limited period of four to five years. A democracy ideally allows only two terms to the head of the state or government, like the US presidency, which is limited to two terms of four years each. What are the Assads doing for four decades? Are they running a monarchy?
The Muslim world also has to learn peaceful transfer of power. We do not see peaceful transfer of power too often. A lot of bloodshed precedes and follows every change of regime. Bashar Assad has already killed hundreds of Syrians demanding democracy. He must remember that the people’s will for change cannot be wished away.
Assad should pay heed to the advice of Arab League, to Saudi Arabia, to the Muslim world, to the world itself, and quit. The sooner, the better.
On the face of it, his departure may look like succumbing to Western pressure and its regime-change agenda. But if one looks closely, the West is able to target him mainly because his father and he himself have overstayed their welcome. Syrians are fed up. They have had enough of the Assads and their violent tactics. Assad Senior did not think for a moment before killing a thousand Syrians. Assad Junior is no different.
It is time for him to go. And go quickly. All that he should do is to negotiate with the Russians to take away with him all the treasures his father and he looted as well as his family, relatives, cronies and assorted camp followers to Russia and settle there happily. This will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and allow them to live in peace. This will also save his own skin and that of his family and friends. Now, he must pack his bags and quit. Post haste. Bye! g