The Russians are issuing demands on the Assad family because their interests are at stake in the region. So are Iranian and Hezbollah interests. Today, their envoyÂ Mikhail Bogdanov demanded that Assad stops the killings immediately and institute reforms.
The question becomes: Will those who have much to lose act to save their interests by protecting Assad or by hedging their bets elsewhere?
If they are still betting on Assad, they may have no choice should he not reform but to send him the strongest of signals by killing the runaway train we Syrians call Maher al-Assad. With years to groom an heir apparent if Assad survives, Maher’s departure may bring reason to the men of Hafez.
That’s not what we hope for but the fact that Russia may use her last card to save her fleet is an indication of how desperate the situation has become inside Syria.
However, if Assad reforms, it will be only to give us time to change this regime with less violent means than Assad wants us to.