Syrian Major General Riad El As’ad has defected along with a group of senior officers, announcing they’ll “fight the army of oppression headed by President Bashar Assad.”
This is huge news, far more so in Syria than just about any other repressive Middle Eastern regime. Assad is a member of the minority Alawite group, which makes up perhaps 10-15% of the country, in a country where the overwhelmingly Sunni majority (about 71%) has long chaffed under Assad rule. Without the army behind him, Assad is toast.
If only the Obama Administration had concentrated on turning Syrian generals a few months ago, when unrest first broke out, instead of pursuing it’s thus-far-ineffective drone attack strategy against the less dangerous Gadhafi regime in Libya, thousands of innocent Syrian civilians might still be alive today, and more democratic Syrian regime might be already be in place.
In other Syrian news, a regime tank assault just killed another 121 people in the city of Hama. If the name sounds familiar, it should; Assad the elder slaughtered some 10,000-40,000 Sunnis there to stop an Islamist revolt in 1982.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)