I had unquestioningly accepted the dominant narrative of the West, that Bashar al-Assad is a monster who cold-bloodedly murders his own people and who must be got rid of as soon as possible. In Syria, we talked to politicians of all parties, imams, Christians, the mayors of local towns and people in the street. Some fervently supported their president. Others were critical, but everyone agreed that at this moment he was the key to Syria’s survival. Even his opponents accept that around 70 per cent of Syrians support Assad. Imposed regime change would bring chaos and the victory of terrorism, undermining Syria’s neighbours, Lebanon and Jordan, as the anarchy of Libya has brought instability to Egypt and Tunisia.
I was catching up with the pre-Christmas issue of The Tablet, when I found this stunningly thought-provoking (and in my view seriously helpful) article on Syria from Timothy Radcliffe. I heartily recommend that you read the whole thing.