Strange Bedfellows: Syria's Regional Neighbors Complicit?

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BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy 7,000...
BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy 7,000 detained and 800 reported dead. Human rights groups say those are the estimated victims in the Syrian government crackdown... so far. And the figures could rise as the upheaval continues. “According to human rights activists, security forces have gone house to house detaining hundreds of suspected of organizing or participating in the massive protests, calling for the removal of the Syrian President Bashar Assad.” (Video: MSNBC) The Western press suggests it’s in the interest of Syria’s neighbors to keep Assad in power. The Guardian, for example, reports a Western diplomat working in Damascus is echoing an allegation the White House made last month: That Iran is supporting, or at least advising, the Syrian crackdown. “The diplomat pointed to a ‘significant’ increase in the number of Iranian personnel in Syria since protests began in mid-March. Mass arrests in door-to-door raids, similar to those that helped to crush Iran’s ‘green revolution’ in 2009, have been stepped up in the past week.” And CNN explains other ways Iran could possibly be helping to put pressure on pro-democracy protesters. “You know, most experts and administration officials say no, the opposition is actually really, really weak and not very well organized at all. ... And what this report is saying is that Iran's helping out with things like jamming communications systems, like handing over equipment that helps cut off modes of communication, and also, supplying the Syrians with things like tear gas...” A writer for The Atlantic says — Iran might not be the only country involved. There are also reports of Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia in the mix. These nations all seem to believe the stability of Assad’s strict regime keeps their regional interests safe. “...the fact that they are all in their own way hoping Bashar al Assad manages to hang tough [show] just how much these countries fear the transforming regional political landscape. Nothing creates stranger bedfellows than a common enemy: in this case, change.” A writer for Voice of America also attempts to explain the unlikely team of pro-Assad supporters. Using the metaphor of a lynchpin, the writer says these countries know -- the center must hold. “A lynchpin is defined as a ‘pin inserted through an axle tree to hold a wheel on.’ If the lynchpin falls out, the wheel comes off. Syria could be just such a lynchpin in the Middle East.” Despite giving hints of some reform, Assad is showing no signs of willingly ending his 11-year reign or easing up on protesters. 'Like' Newsy on Facebook for updates in your newsfeed. Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy. Transcript by Newsy