Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One year later, Syria's Assad won't bow to uprising

(Reuters) - Bashar al-Assad always said Syria would be different.

When the Arab uprisings first erupted more than a year ago, the Syrian president confidently said his government was in tune with its people, ready to reform on its own terms, and immune from the turmoil starting to sweep the region.

Within weeks he was proved wrong, when a few dozen protesters took to the streets of Damascus on March 15 to call for greater freedoms, setting off one of the most protracted and bloodiest of all the Arab revolts.

But while those uprisings toppled four Arab leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, the 46-year-old Assad has withstood the year-long turmoil, deploying tanks, elite troops and artillery to crush rebellion across the country.

Bombarding the city of Homs into submission last month and taking control of much of another rebel hotbed in Idlib, Assad has challenged the assumptions of many who just a few weeks ago were talking of his imminent departure. Read More