Assad Cracks Down


Syrian blogger Ammar Abdulhamid stated in a post this morning that any hope that the Syrian regime is capable of meaningful reform (there's a Baathist Party congress set for June) is wishful thinking, and dangerous as well. "We are waiting for our criminals to become saints and our idiots to become geniuses, and we are expecting this to happen overnight too," wrote Abdulhamid. (Tony Badran sent the link; here's his excellent site.)

As if on cue, the Assad regime this morning began a crackdown on Syrian dissidents. "At dawn this morning," writes Joshua Landis from Damascus, "Syrian authorities . . . arrested the Board of Directors of the Jamal Atassi Muntada (Forum)," a civil-society group.

"So long as individuals complain," wites Landis, "there is no threat. If they begin to organize, as they have been tentatively doing, there is a threat." Landis expects little from next month's party congress.

Syria has also cut whatever ties remain with the U.S. military and with U.S. intelligence.