Admittedly, the Baathist government of Bashar al-Assad could go on faltering for a long time. And it is very hard to know what is going on inside Syria, since few journalists are allowed in and those who sneak in are operating under very diificult conditions and are sometimes killed by the regime, whether deliberately or not.
But there are some signs that the Baath is on its way out.
The deputy prime minister, Qadri Jamil, said Wednesday in Moscow that the regime is ready to talk to the opposition. That sort of talk is a sign of weakness, and that it comes in Moscow suggests panic in the Kremlin about the inability of its client to prevail by sheer brute force. Russia, the BBC says, will put forward a road map for resolution of the crisis that will end in presidential elections. The revolutionaries are demanding that al-Assad step down before they will join talks. Jamil says an al-Assad resignation could be discussed, but not as a prerequisite for talks. Unfortunately for Russia, President Vladimmir Putin’s own conduct of elections would not exactly give the Syrian revolutionaries hope.
When your main patron is suggesting you’ll have to compete for your own job and your deputy prime minister is saying your resignation can be discussed with revolutionaries, it just isn’t a good sign for any president for life.