The Right Coast

March 20, 2004
Is That Domino Teetering?
By Mike Rappaport

The New York Times headline says it all: "Hussein's Fall Leads Syrians to Test Government Limits." The story continues:
    A year ago, it would have been inconceivable for a citizen of Syria, run by the Baath Party of President Bashar al-Assad, to make a documentary film with the working title, "Fifteen Reasons Why I Hate the Baath." Yet watching the overthrow of Saddam Hussein across the border in Iraq prompted Omar Amiralay to do just that. "It gave me the courage to do it," he said.
I suppose I am forced to give the Times some credit for reporting a story that conflicts with their editorial policy. Of course, one might think that the need to praise them for this is pretty damning.

In any event, the story cannot resist some editorializing:
    When the Bush administration toppled the Baghdad government, it announced that it wanted to establish a democratic, free-market Iraq that would prove a contagious model for the region. The bloodshed there makes that a distant prospect, yet the very act of humiliating the worst Arab tyrant spawned a sort of "what if" process in Syria and across the region.
We shall see how long the bloodshed continues once there is a "turnover of sovereignty."