Oh, yes: they're having a referendum "to limit the government's powers." Those aren't literal quotes; those are scare quotes, mostly because I do not particularly believe that the Assad regime has any intention of reducing its power over the Syrian people, and I do not think that you should particularly believe it, either. Admittedly, I am not entirely certain why the regime is bothering. Nobody particularly believes that they mean it; and even if the vote was in fact fair and the Syrian people voted for limiting government power... well, the list of totalitarian states that withered away when the people were ready is a rather short one, and most of those were actually former client states who had engaged en masse in a successful revolt against an imperial power. Not likely in this case, alas.
Meanwhile, the situation is getting sufficiently intense in Syria that even Hamas is bailing out of there. Which is a pity. One would have hoped that they would have stayed around for the bombing campaign; because that's what the final result of what is being euphemistically described (and alleged) as an "aerial blockade" looks like. And, make no mistake: President Obama is inclined to intervene.
Arguing that the U.S. cannot be “bystanders” as the Syrian government continues to massacre its own people, President Obama Friday afternoon called for the international community to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
“All of us who have been seeing the terrible pictures coming out of Syria and Homs recently recognize it is absolutely imperative for the international community to rally and send a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition, it is time for that regime to move on and it is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government,” he said this afternoon after an Oval Office meeting with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
This does not particularly bother me; but then, I didn't vote for the guy. I imagine that the ones who did because they actually believed the man when he claimed to want a new direction in American foreign policy must be kind of fuming right now.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: The Danish connection is actually kind of important. Denmark was and is one of the supporters of Bush's liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq; that their relationship has apparently not suffered overmuch under what should have been an extremely hostile administration towards them is... somewhat relieving, actually. Then again, I've long taken the position that Obama is taking essentially Bush's stance on counter-terrorism - only not as competently.