Today In Syria: Assad And The World

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 9 2012 @ 2:30pm

As opposition leaders allege the Arab League is simply "buy[ing] the regime more time, Daniel Serwer urges them not to give up on the international mission just yet (and explains why the Syria conflict isn't amenable to a Libya-style solution). Richard Gowan concurs. Brian Whitaker is guardedly hopeful about the international community's impotence:

The reality, harsh as it may be, is that there is very little that outsiders can usefully do to help the Syrian uprising beyond isolating the Assad regime as much as possible. This does not mean the revolution is doomed but it does mean the protesters will have to depend mainly on their own resources. In the long run, that could be beneficial if it eventually produces a government that is self-reliant and relatively independent of foreign influences.

The cost in human lives is certainly high, and it could get worse. But beneath the surface, the picture is shifting gradually but surely in the protesters' direction.

Michael Weiss thinks an intervention might succeed if the opposition were to unify. Russia appears to be undertaking an opposite sort of intervention by docking naval assets at a Syrian port. Ali Hussein Bakeer indulges in some Tehranology:

In general, based on the Iranian experience and analysis of the above data, which shows a shift in rhetoric and a practical support for Assad, we can conclude that the purpose of the Iranian tactics is to assist the Syrian regime all the way to the end, taking into consideration options that will help the survival of the regime as well as alternatives that could impose themselves in case of the regime falling. This is especially relevant to some circles within the Iranian regime and Hizbullah, who see that regardless of the form of the next Syrian regime, Damascus will still need them, particularly as Syria has land occupied by Israel; that would enable Tehran to return to the Syrian arena with strength, as they see it.

Ehsani updates on the terrible Syrian economic situation. Leila Nachawati Rego rounds up music, humor, and writing from Syrian revolutionaries. Here's a shaky video of a protest being fired on:

Here's a big funeral protest in Damascus:

Finally, even infants aren't immune to the crackdown: