Bashar Assad is not in an iron cage and is not yet under death penalty threat, mainly because he was never a US ally in the age of Obama or any other age. As a free tyrant, Assad has called in the tanks to crush Syrians who simply want a better life.
Ignoring global condemnation, Syria ordered its military to storm through the rebellious city of Hama on Wednesday after three days of shelling. Activists and residents there said that tanks, armored vehicles and snipers had seized the central square, in what appeared to be a decisive step by the embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, to crush opposition to his rule.
The activists and residents of Hama, a historically important center of anti-government resistance in Syria and an incubator of the nearly five-month uprising against Mr. Assad, said the city was under nearly continuous gunfire in the early hours of the day, and they reported many casualties. They said some residents had tried to stop the advancing armored columns with barricades but stood little chance against such superior military might.
And Assad is, among other things, a true cynic.
There was some speculation that the Syrian forces deliberately timed the invasion of Hama to coincide with the trial of Mr. Mubarak, which was being held in Cairo and covered live by most satellite news channels, some of which have given heavy coverage to the Syrian popular uprising that started in mid-March.
“It’s obvious that they used the Mubarak trial to distract the public from the attack,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, reached by phone in London. “We might be witnessing another massacre in Hama.”