Syria Is Not Libya--Why?

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent troops to several places in the country and is reported to be shooting down people. Here is a report from Al Jazeera, which suggest that people are being shot and attacked apart from any demonstrations. Here is an analysis by Robert Worth of the NYTimes about the political factors at work.So far as we know, the Syrian protests have been non-violent (on the part of the protesters) and unlike Libya have not formed themselves into an insurrection and a transitional force bent on overthrowing the Assad government. Hence, the question: aren't Syrian protesters even more deserving of international protection than the Libyans? Or do other political factors weigh so heavily here that no one proposes intervening?Update: Josh Marshall of TPM has one theory: no one's paying attention.UPDATE: Council on Foreign Relation's inverview with Jon Alterman: "there is considerable concern and uncertainty among U.S. officials about what will happen going forward, particularly should the country's President Bashar al-Assad be ousted. Complicating U.S. policy on Syria, he adds, are the many U.S. allies in the region such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel that want to keep Assad in power."

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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