by Chris Bodenner
[T]he scenes of enormous, peaceful rallies there Friday, with their echoes of dissent in Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year, have served as a persuasive critique of the government’s version of events, which had won over large segments of Syrian society. Throughout the nearly four-month uprising, the government has pointed to the deaths of hundreds of its forces, in particular in the still murky events in Jisr al-Shughour in the north, to argue that the unrest is the product of violent Islamist radicals with support from abroad.
Dominic Evans distills the dilemma for Assad:
If he lets protesters stay on the streets, he will see his authority ebb away, but if he sends tanks into the city still scarred by the 1982 massacre, he risks igniting far wider unrest at home and deeper isolation abroad.
Juan Cole rounds up reporting on Hama and draws parallels with the Iranian crackdown of June 2009. In a video op-ed, Tom Friedman, who reported from the Hama massacre of 1982, discusses the similarities between Hafez al-Assad's actions then and his son's now.
(Footage of injured civilians in Hama today via Enduring America)