The Arab Spring Becomes the Arab Autumn

President Assad of Syria - The next dictator to fall in the Middle East?

President Assad of Syria - The next dictator to fall in the Middle East?

First published in Andrew Lye Western Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

The last few months has seen governments fall across North Africa and into the Arabian peninsula, as the people rise and demand change and even removal of their leaders.

Today, President Assad of Syria has warned the Western world of an "earthquake" if it intervenes in his country. Mind you, in my eyes, a comment like that is a sure guaranteed means of ensuring an intervention.

So far, over 3000 Syrian people are alledged to have been killed by the forces loyal to President Assad and no one has said that these figures are incorrect, apart (no doubt) by the Syrian leadership.

For months, the people of Syria have been demanding the changes that they have seen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The world has been watching events in Libya and whilst some have called for a thorough investigation into the death of Gaddafi, I can fully understand why the vast majority of Libyans are celebrating his death. Had he been captured and gone on trial, there is something still in the air that might not resolve the issues in the minds of the people.

At least with his death, the past is now clearly dead and buried and hopefully a new Libya will be created and from day one, the people have said they wanted a democracy and free elections. In many ways, the Libyans are to be comended for the way they rose up and took on the might of a powerful state and won. OK, NATO bombed Gaddafi's military might, thanks to the UN Security Council backing. The people of Libya ultimately took on and defeated the Gaddafi war machinery and Gaddafi got what he deserved after 42 years of brutal control of his country. Yes, many people died in the last few months, but not many revolutions are bloodless. Had NATO not been given the mandate, it is possible that Gaddafi would have ensured a total bloodbath of those opposed to him.

Not one NATO plane or helicopter was shot down and no NATO airman was injured or killed, so NATO must be very pleased with itself. And not one Western member of the armed forces was on the ground (officially). So it was in the true sense, a Libyan revolution. Now, it is up to the Libyan people to determine their own future and they have been promised democratic elections within 8 months.

The Libyan people have greatly impressed me. Their use of English. Their common determination to control their own destiny as a democratic nation is something to welcome.

No wonder Assad fears what may happen to him. It would appear that the Arab Spring has opened Pandora's box as the people turn to removing their despotic leaders and wanting democracy and free elections.

I am not saying we should be intervening in Syria, but I am firmly of the view that no Leader of a country has the right to shoot and kill their own people just because they happen to disagree with their leadership. It is time that the UN made it clear that a country's Leadership is there by the consent of its people and that to use such tactics as Assad is using, will mean they could be put on trial at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

I cannot accept that we must stand by as Assad has killed 3000 civilians, but what action should the world take? Assad must know that history shows that he won't be in power for much longer, so he should go sooner, rather than later, but does the world have to stand by as he kills his own people? The people of Syria have said they dont want the world to intervene. So what does the world do?

Now that the air is clear in Libya as Gaddafi is dead, maybe the world's eyes will turn to decide what can be done in Syria, if anything.

Does the world act as the Good Samaritan, or does it turn a blind eye?

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