Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared last week that Assad's government had "lost legitimacy," diplomatic language that implied a break with the government in Damascus. Analysts said they expected the White House to demand Assad's ouster, as it did earlier this year with Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
But Clinton backed off on Saturday, saying the administration still hopes that Assad's regime will stop the violence and work with protesters to carry out political reforms. On Monday, European Union ministers also called on Assad to implement reforms and made it clear they still hoped he would do so.I have a hard time believing that anyone could really believe Assad will change. The cynic in me says they don't want to confront the Syrian tyrant, who has unleashed death squads on the populace, because A) he's aligned with Iran, whose reaction they fear should they tackle him and B) Syria has no oil to speak of while Libya has oodles of it.