Syrian activists organized fresh protests today under the rallying call 'the beginnings of victory' after Assad promised the UN on Wednesday that he would end his regime's brutal crackdown.
Iran's relationship with Syria gives it clout with a broad range of players. If Syria's regime collapses, so too could Iran's regional influence.
Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, kept Syria stable for 40 years through Machiavellian guile and ruthlessness, while sowing havoc elsewhere in the region.
Arab leaders threatened by the region's uprisings may have finally hit on a tactic that can undermine popular support for protesters: playing on religious and national divides.
Using Facebook a group has tried to organize a street protest for Friday. The Syrian government appears confident, however, that it can survive the current tumult in the Middle East by clamping down on dissent.
The Iraqi refugee crisis in Syria helped open the door for aid and rights groups, serving as one catalyst in the strengthening of civil society.