It is unfortunate that al-Assad did not respond to the initial demonstrations creatively, or reward people's expectations that he would democratize the country. The situation has spiraled out of control and in the end he is only a tribal chief protecting his family's great wealth and using the Alawite people as his pawns. When the dust settles he and his henchmen will go to Paris with the billions they have stashed there and live like, well, kings. The rest of the Alawites will suffer a terrible fate, less so if there is intervention and partition (Alawite, Kurd and Sunni). On the other hand the Alawites could dethrone al-Assad and hand him and his (cronies) over to the UN for trial and, like the Germans after WWII and the separation of the German people from Hitler and the Nazis, blame them for the bloodshed. It is hard to tell if there is still time to do that.
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