Political Violence Thought of the Week

By Erica Chenoweth

“Practically, this process is positive.”

~ Bashar al Assad, commenting on recent defections, as quoted in Hassan Hassan’s article “Assad’s Massacre Strategy”.

Apparently, Assad would prefer a “a small, committed core of officials committed to crushing the revolt than a broader regime infiltrated by traitors,” as Hassan puts it. Although many conflict scholars view defections as a sign of regime weakness, Assad may see it as a process of voluntary purging, thus strengthening the regime. More will be revealed as to whether Assad is right.

  1. This reminds me of a scene from Cheers where Cliff tells Norm that “just like natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, excessive drinking benefits the brain by killing off the weakest, slowest brain cells and makes the brain faster and smarter” (the whole quote is too long, but funny too).

    Assad makes as much sense.

  2. Do you think he really believes that? Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I think that he’s just trying to spin it…

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