The arrest of Riad Seif, the recently leader of Syria’s largest opposition coalition, earlier today by security officers, in face of continued international protestations against the regime’s worsening human rights record, and despite continuing efforts at engagements and continued promises of normalization, support for the peace process, and even an indirect acknowledgment of the regime’s interests in Lebanon, comes as a clear sign that the Assads, once engaged and afforded any sense of legitimacy, tend to misbehave even more not less. The continued bombings and the recent riots in Lebanon are clear testaments in this regard as well. And the worst is yet to come.
Reason is meaningless and peacemaking worthless when the protagonists continue to premise their activities on a stubborn misreading of the nature of the realities with which we all have to contend. Thieves and murderers cannot be simply coaxed into changing their ways. Rulers in authoritarian states are often not statesmen and cannot be expected or prevailed upon to behave as such.