Damascus' Road


The Washington Post is reporting that the Iraq War has strengthened the hand of Syria's reformers.

"When your neighbor shaves, you start to wet your cheeks," said Nabil Jabi, a political strategist in Damascus, citing an Arabic proverb. "It means you must study the new situation in your neighborhood"….

During the past two weeks, the Syrian government has licensed its first three private banks … while approving two new private universities and four private radio stations. Officials are now reviewing the possibility of removing military training from the curriculum of schools and universities and eliminating a requirement that all students join youth groups affiliated with Syria's ruling Baath Party…

What do such changes mean? Who knows: maybe nothing, maybe it's the top of the Syrian Ba'thists' slippery slope. In any event, the postwar Mideast already seems a notably different place.