Assad is at it again using his old friends in Western academic circles to reposition himself as the “necessary man” for the next phase. That is the old ploy to which dictators like him keep resorting time and time again, and why should they not? The West’s academic and policy-making circles are always capable of fielding a receptive audience – knaves, fools and/or amoral bastards in search of quick fixes to the political dilemmas they created for themselves through messianic overreach or lethargy. Damn all. The only key Assad holds is one to the demise of our very sense of humanity and decency. Enter ye who have abandoned all hope, decency and reason.