Back in 1982, when Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad of the minority Alawite sect of Shiite Islam faced a Sunni uprising in the city of Hama, he dispatched his younger brother Rifaat to put down the insurrection. In the ensuing crackdown, the forces led by Rifaat al-Assad leveled whole sections of the city with bombs and artillery, killing an estimated 25,000 Syrians in the process. But he got the job done, perpetuating the family dynasty.
Flash forward to last week’s apparent chemical weapons attack that is estimated to have killed hundreds and perhaps more than a thousand civilians in a civil war that has already claimed over 100,000 lives. United Nations officials are reporting that Bashar al-Assad’s younger brother Maher al-Assad, the regime’s security chief and commander of the elite 4th Armored Division, is likely behind the chemical weapons attack. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-27/assad-s-brother-seen-linked-to-syria-chemical-attack.html.
With the United States threatening a retaliatory strike, it appears that Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year-old son has now gotten into the family business, posting on Facebook and taunting the Obama administration.
“I just want them to attack soooo much,” the younger Assad allegedly wrote, “because I want them to make this huge attack of beginning something that they don’t know the end of it.”
Though the authenticity of the boy’s Facebook profile has not been authoritatively confirmed, the New York Times notes evidence that the page actually belongs to the son of the Syrian dictator. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/facebook-post-said-to-be-by-assads-son-dares-americans-to-attack/?_r=0.
If Bashar al-Assad prevails in Syria’s civil war, it seems the next-in-line in the Assad Dynasty is already in training, little 11-year-old Hafez al-Assad. Like grandfather, like son.