Across the Bay

Friday, July 15, 2005

Debating Bashar

Take a look at this roundtable on Bashar, Syria, and Lebanon. Obviously, it includes the ubiquitous Flynt Leverett whose nonsense is really getting to be irritating as hell. I mean listen to this nonsense: "One thing that I take as an indicator-a confirmation of his reformist impulses--is the woman he married. ... I think that the fact that Bashar proposed to someone like that, over his family's objections, says something about where his impulses lie." I mean, come on... Flynt's argument is laughable. No wonder he's out of government, no matter how hard he's trying to get back in with this Bashar schtick.

I believe Jreidini is right. Bashar is an ideological hardliner. That's what I've been saying all along. I also related what Dennis Ross had written in the Washington Quarterly, particularly his note about Bashar's admiration of Hassan Nasrallah.

Despite what my buddy Josh writes, I believe this assessment is correct. Let's put it this way, as Barry Rubin did: we haven't seen any evidence to the contrary. In fact, everything we've seen supports the other view. The testimony of people in Lebanon who've had to deal with him in one way or another (like Hariri's former aide and others) portray not just a hardliner, but a thug with a temper.