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Has Assad Made a Fatal Mistake?

The downfall of dictators is often their stupidity, arrogance, and unbridled aggression. Saddam Hussein might have stayed in power if he had simply admitted not having weapons of mass destruction. Muammar Qaddafi could have survived if he had not made blood-curdling statements about massacring everyone in Benghazi. And Bashar al-Assad would have a greater chance of survival had not his aircraft defenses shot down a Turkish Air Force F-4 yesterday.

It is still unclear exactly what happened, but the result will surely be to increase Turkey’s role—already substantial—in helping the Syrian opposition.

It could even spark the creation of “safe zones” inside Syria and make a NATO intervention more likely. The anti-aircraft gunners who brought down the Turkish jet could not have done more damage to their leader if they had tried.


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