... or not.
Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms.
"Talking about democracy and freedom has become very difficult and sensitive. The people are not believing these thoughts anymore. When the U.S. came to Iraq, it came in the name of democracy and freedom. But all we see are bodies, bodies, bodies."
"The Americans came to Iraq to make it an example to the other countries to ask for change. But what happened was the opposite. Now everyone is saying we do not want to be like Iraq."
And so, yet another rationale for the war in Iraq bites the big one.
And if you think they feel that way in Syria, imagine how they must feel in Iran, where the hardliners are expecting to boost their power in upcoming elections, while disorganized reformers are gradually being silenced. As a result, Ahmadinejad doesn't appear to have divided Iran, so much as established himself as a strong man, having consolidated his power and established an unexpected level of defacto internal unity. There simply appears to be no one who can oppose him.