Today In Syria: Assad’s Terrible New Year

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 2 2012 @ 2:56pm

The Damascenes in the above video, who ring in 12:00 AM on January 1st with chants of "Come on and leave oh Bashar," may have reason to hope for a good new year if Michael Totten is on the money:

So [Assad] is “only” killing a few handfuls of people each day. He might be able to keep that up for years without bringing a regime-change from abroad down on his head. There’s a problem, though, with that strategy. I am not better at math than the people of Syria. They, too, can compute that the odds they’ll be shot in a demonstration are only one in 5,000. Their incentive to hide under the bed rather than take to the streets is not large. Assad, then, is finding himself in a vise. If he kills too few people, they may eventually bring him down. And if he kills too many, we might bring him down.

Nick Cohen thinks the threshold for Western intervention has already been crossed. Dan Murphy argues that, regardless of how the intervention debate falls out, we ought to consider the Arab League observer mission a failure. Daniel Serwer counters:

 At least some the observers, rather than following the bad example of their Sudanese leader, are trying to restrain the authorities in Syria by saying plainly what they are seeing. Friday’s demonstrations, which the Western press thinks brought out as many as 500,000 people, were large and energetic precisely because the observers were present.  Withdrawing them prematurely would be a serious error and give the regime another opportunity for a massive crackdown against reduced numbers of protesters.

Gene Zitver and DaveM translate a YouTube'd debate between the "Sudanese leader" al-Dabi and Syrian protestor Khaled Abu Saleh. The below video of a young boy shot in the face by a sniper rifle, who somehow still manages to stay on his feet, is some strong support for Saleh's side:

Protestors in Hama aren't slacking off in the New Year:

Finally, these murdered men (purportedly Turkish citizens) were simply left on a highway near Homs: