Daniel Pipes: Fin de Régime in Syria?

Roundup: Historians' Take

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University

The revolt in Syria offers great opportunities, humanitarian and geo-political. Western states should quickly and robustly seize the moment to dispatch strongman Bashar al-Assad and his accomplices. Many benefits will follow when they reach their appointed dustbin of history.

Foreign: The malign but tactically brilliant Hafez al-Assad blighted the Middle East with disproportionate Syrian influence for decades. His son, the feckless Bashar, has continued this pattern since 2000 by sending terrorists to Iraq; murdering Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and overthrowing his son, Saad; aiding the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups; and developing chemical and nuclear weapons. His riddance will be a universal boon.

But Bashar’s main role internationally is serving as Tehran’s premier ally. Though Westerners normally view the Syrian-Iranian alliance as a flimsy marriage of convenience, it has lasted over 30 years, enduring shifts in personnel and circumstances, thanks to what Jubin Goodarzi in 2006 called the two parties’ “broader, long-term strategic concerns derived from their national security priorities.”

The Syrian intifada has already weakened the Iranian-led “resistance bloc” by exacerbating political tensions, distancing Tehran from Assad and fomenting divisions in the Iranian leadership. Syrian protesters are burning the Iranian flag; were (Sunni) Islamists to take power in Damascus they would terminate the Iran connection, seriously impairing the mullah’s grandiose ambitions....

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