By James A. Lyons
By arming the rebels, we're aiding al Qaeda
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Throughout 40 years of Assad family dictatorship, one thing united Syrians - the culture of self-censorship, fear and paranoia.
Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Tuesday to respond to threats against him with an "iron hand" and refused to step down, insisting he still has his people's support despite the 10-month-old uprising against him.
"The type of expression has now shifted, the subtlety has gone," said Rime Allaf, associate fellow at London's Chatham House. "Today, for the first time in recent Syrian history, people are able to get out and say it openly."
"He hopes revolutionaries — who he equated with terrorists during the entire speech — will simply give up and go home," Mr. Allaf added.