Syria's Assad faces Kadhafi's fate: Barak

HALIFAX, Michel Comte- Syria's president has reached "a point of no return" and faces the same fate as former despots in Libya and Iraq, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday.
"I think that he went beyond the point of no return, no way that he will resume his authority or legitimacy," Barak told a defense summit, predicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime could fall within months under growing international and internal pressures.

"And it's clear to me that what happened a few weeks ago to Kadhafi... and what happened ultimately to Saddam Hussein, now might await him," he said.
Former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi was killed on October 20 when forces of Libya's new regime captured his hometown of Sirte. Saddam Hussein was hanged in December 2006 after being sentenced for the deaths of 148 Iraqi Shiites in the early 1980s.
The UN says a crackdown in Syria has killed more than 3,500 people since mid-March.
Across the country on Saturday, at least 17 people were killed, according to activists, as an Arab League deadline for Damascus to stop its lethal crackdown on dissent was about to expire.
Syria has been told by its Arab peers to stop the lethal repression against protesters by midnight (2200 GMT) on Saturday or risk sanctions, and the Arab League has already suspended it from the 22-member bloc.
With rebel troops inflicting mounting losses on the regular army, Turkey and the United States both raised the spectre of civil war and Russia called for restraint.
Two senior US senators also at the Halifax security forum suggested it was time that Syria's main opposition group be officially recognized.
"I think that we should consider recognition of the Syrian National Council since it's pretty clear that Bashar al-Assad is not going to heed ours and other nations' as well as the Arab League's requirements to stop the slaughter of his own people," said US Senator John McCain.
He was echoed by fellow Senator Mark Udall, who said reports of disaffected Syrian military forces getting into the fight are "encouraging."
"I think this is another signal to the Assad regime that the jig is up, that if he truly believed in his people and his country's future, he would find a way to step aside and streamline the process of a democratic process taking hold in Syria," he said.
Barak acknowledged that Israel would benefit from Assad's downfall as it would entail less support for Hezbollah, but more importantly, he said, it "might benefit Syrian people."
He also urged the international community to deal "more forcefully" with Iran, an ally of Syria, "through much tougher sanctions" to stop its nuclear program, warning "if they reach nuclear capability, they will feel much more immune... and they can be much more brutal in closing the way or blocking the way for any Iranian Spring to emerge."
On this point, McCain scolded Russia and China for balking at tougher UN sanctions against Iran, calling their opposition "disgraceful conduct."

Sunday, November 20th 2011
Michel Comte

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