I propose the following alternate view of Bashar Assad.
He is a bookish man who never expected to have any kind of political power. His older brother was supposed to succeed to the purple, but this brother died unexpectedly in his sports car learning the hard way that the laws of physics apply to all. Bashar was then called back from England where he was studying to be an MD.
His father died. Even Hafez al-Assad had to die sometime. Throughout Hafez' life the unmodern part of the majority Sunni Arab population in Syria plotted with the Saudis and with their agents, most importantly Rafik Hariri the Saudi agent who held power in Lebanon intermittently using Saudi money and his own money to influence people and "rent" them in Lebanon, Syria and Washington. It should be said that Hariri's money came frm his Saudi royal family connections and his manipulation of such opportunities as the "Solidaire" project for re-building downtown Beirut.
It was clear to me throughout the Bush '43 epoch that Bashar Assad sought a rapprochement with the US. The Cheney/neocon faction blocked that. The Assad government persisted for years and sought a deal with Israel to seal the over all deal. Israel was quite responsive to this but in the end the possibility of such a deal was crushed both by the Bushies and by the Baath old guard (both Alawi and Sunni) in the Syrian power structure.
BHO came into office willing to see if Assad really wanted a deal. This was not to be. AIPAC's "pound of flesh" in the formation of the "hope-change" administration included several representatives of the Zionist set to include Jeffrey Feltman (Asst SecState for NE), Dennis Ross, and various lesser lights. Not surprisingly, these people reported that Assad was "insincere." Why Hillary Clinton did not see through this is a mystery to me. Then Bibi came to power. He and his neocon allies in Washington made it clear that they were not really interested in Syria or the Palestinians. They wanted the US to prroduce an Israeli friendly regime in Iraq. That failed but they also wanted Iran crippled so that Iran could not challenge Israeli hegemony in the ME. They are stil working on that.
Throughout the Bush '43 era and into the BHO period the neocons pushed the idea that Westernised "liberals": and ethno-religious minorities should be brought to power in the region believing that as minorities they were willing to make nice with Israel. An unendingsearch for "good" Islamists took place over the last five years. Discreet contacts were made to encourage them against the "old bulls" like Mubarak. The Arab spring was a direct product of this neocon and academic fathead meddling in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
The Syrian Sunni Islamist revolt is a direct result of that effort. What you have in Syria is a civil war bewtwee the forces of semi-westernization on the government's side and the forces of Sunni Islamism backed by Saudi Arabia on the other. In this struggle. the lefty media (and Fox) have never seen or heard Rebel BS that they did not really love.
What options does Assad have. 1- He can fight through to a total defeat of the rebels, 2- He can surrender to US demands for the end of his government. Arrest, trial and death will surely follow for him and his. 3- He can flee into exile where he can brood until brought back for trial and death.
Which course of action do you think he will choose? pl