I have just read a report that Assad is about to step down. The Russian ambassador to France said as much in a TV interview this morning
It has been doubted by amongst others the BBC. Personally I think it probably is true. The so-called Syrian free army – the army that was but which has changed sides – in all probability to save its own skin. Assad has seen what happened in the end to Gaddafi. He must be weighing up the pros & cons of the situation. It can’t be that he is getting any pleasure from being in charge of the country. The country was bequeathed to him by his father as though he were a mediaeval ruler. It seems unlikely that he actually ever wanted to be president. But there it is. One thing has led to another. He knows that unless somewhere there is a safe haven for him (maybe Saudi Arabia) he doesn’t have long to live. The gates of Rome are about to be breached; or rather the gates of Damascus.
It seems that Assef Shawkat who was one of the people killed by the bomb blast of 2 days ago was the mastermind of the crackdown. In politics the final dénouement often comes more swiftly than anybody had anticipated. Now that he has gone, Assad may be on his own. The other members of his inner circle will presumably seek to save their skin.
The important question now is what happens next. What kind of government will ensue now. Iran seems to have its finger is many pies & it is probably not possible to tell which way they are going to turn. The nightmare is that Syria will go the way of Iran & become an Islamic society. There is a danger that Syria will become fragmented & die. By that I mean that it will break up into separate states. It has happened before in recent years in Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union & Czechoslovakia. It has also happened in Sudan. It could happen in Syria.
Assad knows that the future for him is over. He has no future. His is a fight to the death or a surrender. After all he is not a soldier.