Should Obama call for Syria’s Assad to go?

The Christian Science Monitor wonders: “Should Obama call for Syria’s Assad to go? And would it matter?

…according to some experts, a call from the White House for Assad to go would hasten the disintegration of his government. In this view, Syrian elites view current US sanctions as an attempt to get Syria to distance itself from Iran as much as a tool intended to end their internal crackdown.

A clear statement from Mr. Obama might shatter this belief. It might cause Syrian generals to review their support of the government, and might cause the commercial elites of Damascus and Aleppo to begin to distance themselves from Assad, according to Ammar Abdulhamid, founder and director of the Tharwa Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting democracy in the Middle East.

“But as long as Bashar Assad seems to be called upon to change or to lead the reform process, then his position is legitimized, and the army generals will say then why should be challenge a leader that the international community still considers somehow as legitimate despite the sanctions?” Mr. Abdulhamid said at a Carnegie Institution conference earlier this year.