THE BLOG

Assad Has to Go!

After killing over 3,500 people, the brutal dictator of Syria is finally feeling the heat. He initially accepted the Arab League plan, under which he simply had to rein in on his murderous army. Later on, however, he seems to have opted out of it. On Sunday, which was also the day of Eid-al-Adha, the largest Muslim festival, his forces continued with their killing spree. What he is really up to? Will he be able to survive?

Under the aforementioned plan, Assad promised the release of political prisoners, which number as many as 70,000, according to Arab League estimates. He released only 553 of them and that too under a general reprieve customary in the Muslim world on major festivals. The rest are languishing in jails and secret detention facilities with the worst form of torture meted out to them.

It appears that Assad is pulling wool over the eyes of the Arab League. It is obvious over the course of the last eight months that he does not care about the international pressure. He enjoys full support of Iran and necessary diplomatic backing by Russia and China. But the Arab League? True that the organization's influence has waned in recent years. It is also a fact that the Assad regime has a visible tilt towards Iran and Hezbollah, based on a number of factors including religious affiliations. Still, he cannot afford to brush side a weak and much-belated stance from the Arab League.

Then there is Turkey, which had warmed up to Assad in recent years. Not any more. The country has started imposing sanctions on Syria and appears to be preparing itself for a regime change on its southern borders. Turkey has also given refuge to thousands of Syrians fleeing from military crackdown and has hosted talks of opposition parties.

Assad's options are running out. The cosmetic and yet-to-be-implemented reforms coupled with sustained violence will prove the final nail in his coffin. He has to go. He needs to abdicate the throne his father had envisioned to remain a family asset. Moreover, he should pay for his sins. An indictment from the Hague will be the apt punishment for the eye surgeon and his clan.

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