The President cannot afford to look weak at this stage. As he faces a legitimacy crisis within the ranks of the Alawite sect, he cannot anymore afford to look too lenient with Sunni Islamists. And as he prepares to revamp the upper echelons of the Baath Party, the security apparatuses and the army, he cannot afford to look intimidated by the Americans, or anyone for that matter. He needs to look tough, even at the risk of a potential international, not to mention internal, backlash. And he needs to believe that the reforms he intends to introduce will more than make up for any setback at this stage. The stakes are high, his life might be on the line, and he knows it.
Still, he is bound to fail no matter what he does and regardless of his intentions. You simply cannot fix a corpse. And time is not on his side. Perhaps, at this stage in particular, it is on nobody’s side. We’ll see. We’ll see.