President Bashar al-Assad and his dad combined for ruling Syria over the past four decades by using a combination of force and terror. In the 1980s when the Muslim Brotherhood challenged dad, he levelled the city of Hama and killed 20,000 people. Bashar knows he can send in the armed forces and kill several thousand people, but he also is wondering if times have changed. He is now facing not a few thousand protesters, but hundreds of thousands and even an Assad has to think twice before unleashing the dogs of war.
Yesterday, he fired the Cabinet in order to send a message that he is listening. Unfortunately, the people of Syria know his Cabinet does not even take a shit without first checking with the man in power. Bashar is at a crossroads. He can institute basic reforms by focusing upon economic development and a massive job program or he can add, at least, the beginning of a parliamentary system of government. The bottom line is he MUST act in a positive manner.
Or, he might wind up having a Gaddafi moment.