What is the Surrender Ritual for al-Assad

By Trace A. DeMeyer

Watching the news about Syria and the “Arab Spring” uprisings,  I ask: How do “civilized nations” deal with dictators in 2013 and can a dictator surrender without being killed?  Can Syrian President al-Assad simply resign?  Will “the civilized” US, England, France and others target specific individuals, the “uncivilized” autocrats/presidents/dictators, and their military leaders in Syria, for killing their own populations in a civil war?  

In the case of Syria, the evidence of using banned weapons is being evaluated by the UN.  But how do we know who sent the bombs? Isn’t that most important before any action is taken? Doesn’t the American public and the Congress need to know all of this prior to targeting and killing certain individuals responsible? What if Syria didn’t drop those chemical weapon bombs?

The way it is now, according to John Robb: Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, “The portion of the national hierarchy involved in the use of the banned weapon (as in Syria) would be deemed a terrorist organization and specific people would be placed onto a target list, prioritized then hunted as individuals.”

Robb suspects as this process matures, targets will be made public (listed on the Internet) and given 60 days to give themselves up).  “After that, it’s a one way ticket.  Drones away…crowdsourced manhunts…NSA big data…and an eventual explosive death (with the requisite collateral damage that nobody seems to care about).  

“In short, warfare in the 21st century IS becoming very, very direct and very public,” Robb writes.

What sort of exit strategy can a dictator take? What does the world accept as a SURRENDER RITUAL? I was thinking of Saddam Hussein in Iraq who had to hide, was hunted down and hung.

A comment on Robb’s post from Racistname offered, “This is being tried in the Third World, look at the case of Charles Taylor. A brutal dictator, believed to be organizing atrocities, eventually found himself on the receiving end of the ire of GW Bush, he opted to flee his country and seek sanctuary in a neighboring country, and was then turned over to the Hague. The clear message this sent, and the proposed tactic above sends, is that

a) surrendering your throne and power will get you killed
b) safety can only be found in the midst of a loyal group, in territory you control
c) if you want group loyalty, force everyone to participate in atrocities as a condition of membership…

“This means conflicts will become more, not less, protracted and brutal…. Without a ‘surrender ritual’ that an autocrat can participate in, the autocrat is incentivized to do anything, no matter how horrific to stay in power, because his fate (death) will be the same either way,” the commenter said.

Some Wiki background on the current “uncivilized autocrat in Syria.”

Bashar Hafez al-Assad (born 11 September 1965) is the President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Syrian-led branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. He has served as President since 2000, when he succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad, who led Syria for 30 years prior to his death. Al-Assad graduated from the medical school of the University of Damascus in 1988, and started to work as a physician in the army. Four years later, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specializing in ophthalmology. In 1994, after his elder brother Bassel, the heir apparent to their father, was killed in a car crash, Bashar was promptly recalled to Syria to take over Bassel’s role. He entered the military academy, and took charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 1998. In December 2000, Assad married Asma Assad, née Akhras. Al-Assad was reconfirmed by the national electorate as President of Syria in 2000 and 2007, after the People’s Council of Syria had voted to propose the incumbent each time.[1][2]  Initially seen by the domestic and international community as a potential reformer, this expectation ceased when he ordered a mass crackdown and military sieges on pro-rebel protesters amid recent civil war, described by some commentators as related to the wider “Arab Spring” movement.[3] The domestic Syrian opposition and much of the Western world, along with a number of pro-Western Arab states, have subsequently called for al-Assad’s resignation from the presidency.[4]

So how does a dictator like al-Assad resign? What is the Surrender Ritual? The world needs to know.

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