Middle East

Meanwhile, in Syria…

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Now protests are breaking out in Syria, one of the most brutal police states in the region. Amir Taheri reports:

Syria's freedom uprising started Tuesday, when some 300 protesters gathered in front of the Interior Ministry to demand news of political prisoners….So far, three successive "Days of Rage" have been held in Damascus. By the standards set in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, the crowds were fairly small—but then, challenging the Syrian dictatorship is no easy task….

It's too early to tell whether the "few misguided elements" that have started defying the most brutal Middle East regime can bring freedom to Syria, but one thing is certain: Unlike previous protests, the latest "days of rage" are openly aimed at ending the Assads' rule. It seems that Syrians, starting with a "few misguided elements," are beginning to free themselves of fear. At least 40 protest leaders, among them the philosopher Tayyeb Tizini and the human-rights leader Suhair al-Attasi, have been taken to an unknown destination. But more "days of rage" are planned for next week.

Update: A reader points out that Taheri has a checkered history when it comes to accurate reporting. I'll remember that the next time his byline crosses my radar screen. But there isn't any doubt that these protests have been happening; it's not as though he's the only one writing about them. Here's hoping the dissidents defy the odds and bring Assad down.