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Syrian Prime Minister Defects

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 6, 2012

In another sign that the Syrian crisis is at an inflection point, its Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected and fled the country.  Hijab, appointed only two months ago, is reported to be in hiding outside of Syria.  After defecting, he made the following statement:

“I address you today at this grave hour where the country is living under the brunt of genocide and barbarian brutal killing against unarmed people who are simply demanding freedom and a dignified life.  Today I declare … that I have defected from the terrorist, murderous regime and [am] joining the holy revolution.  And I declare that from today I am a soldier of this holy revolution.”

Mr. Hijab is the highest-profile defection since the uprising began.  He is part is of the Sunni Muslim majority in Syria that has been oppressed for decades by the al-Assad’s who are from the minority Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Muslims.

With Hijab being the first Syrian cabinet minister to defect, it is evident that Bashar al-Assad’s is losing his grip on power.  He joins a growing list of defections that last month included Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares will, and Brig Gen Manaf Tlas.  In addition, it is reported that 30 other generals have defected and are now in Turkey.

The endgame for the al-Assad regime is quickly approaching.  While this will ultimately be positive for the Syrian people, it is likely to first bring chaos as the Sunni majority seeks revenge on those that oppressed them for so many years.  This said episode is another reminder that the theory proffered by Progressive diplomats that all that was required for peace in the Middle East was a resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian issue was bogus.

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