Is anyone paying attention to Syria?
No doubt Bashar Assad has been reinforced in his belief that murdering civilians is far more preferable than suffering the fate of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
Mubarak, supposedly suffering from cancer, is lying on a stretcher locked in a cage and standing trial for corruption and murder. The sight of the once nearly omnipotent dictator so humilated must be giving the Assad's of the Middle East a powerful incentive to do everything they can to avoid being deposed.
And despite the fact that Assad's tanks are opening up on unarmed civilians, it doesn't seem to be bothering too many people in the American government - at least, judging by the volume of our protests. One might expect daily remonstrances from our president, or at least our secretary of state. Instead, the State Department press flak reads pretty much the same statement over and over, day after day. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms blah blah blah..."
As if Assad hasn't heard it all before:
Syrian troops killed at least 45 civilians in a tank assault to occupy the center of the besieged city of Hama, an activist said on Thursday, in a sharp escalation of a campaign to crush an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Thousands of civilians were fleeing the city, a bastion of protest surrounded by a ring of steel of troops with tanks and heavy weapons.
Electricity and communications have been cut off and as many as 130 people have been killed in a four-day military assault since Assad sent troops into the city on Sunday, activists say.
Reacting to the intensifying assaults on Hama and other Syrian districts, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of force against civilians -- its first substantive response to nearly five months of unrest in Syria.
You know you're doing a bad job when the UN makes more noise than the US government about the slaughter of civilians in Syria.
You want some more good news? Gaddafi is trying to make common cause with the Islamists in order to stay in power:
Muammar Gaddafi's son said his camp was nearing a deal with Islamists within Libya's rebellion to isolate more liberal members of the insurgency, as a seized cargo of government-owned fuel docked in a rebel port.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi's comments, in an interview with the New York Times, underscored attempts to exploit divisions within the rebels as they seek to recover from the killing of their military commander and push toward Tripoli on three fronts.
Has there ever been a more screwed up foreign policy in modern US history? Everything Obama touches explodes. Miscalculation, followed by incompetence, topped off with arrogance has made things far worse than they should have been in the Middle East.
So much for "smart" foreign policy.