Assad's Madness?

There is an argument floating around that Bashar Assad is not mad enough to order a chemical attack against Syrian civilians. I have watched most of his speeches, and observed a lot of actions, and I have a tendency to support this claim. Bashar, indeed, is not mad enough to order a chemical attack.

However, if we dig deeper, and pay attention to the various decision making machinations within the Syrian regime, we can easily find indications that people surrounding Assad (people that he often does not have real control over) are mad enough to order a chemical attack, even if such an attack defies military strategic logic.

These people include Maher Assad (Bashar's younger brother) who does not seem to have an interest whatsoever in the politics of a chemical strike. The various operations that he ordered, and in many cases oversaw himself, defy logic. His strategy is mainly shoot civilians for the mere appearance of being a rebel - i.e. a civilian, who is not affiliated with the rebels, is a possible target mainly if his beard is more 1 mm long.

Hafez Makhlouf, Bashar's cousin and the head of the internal branch at the General Security Directorate, is also mad enough to order a chemical strike. He, with his brother, Rami Makhlouf, has vested financial interests which include arm deals with Russian and Iranian weapons factories. From his perspective, strategic and political interests do not necessarily mean anything as long as his own personal financial and economic interests are furthered.

These are just two examples. Bashar's cousins from his mother's side are mad, and they wield immense influence over many decisions that in some cases override Bashar's own political considerations.


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