This photo shows on the left Nicolas Sarkozy, by now ex-president of France. On the right Hosni Mubarak, by now ex-dictator of Egypt; though Sarkozy and his administration (like Tony Blair, US Vice President Joe Biden, and other NATO countries establishment people) tried desperately to prevent Mubarak’s regime from succumbing under the anti-dictatorial mass movement. And in the middle Bashar al-Assad, still dictator of Syria.
One day after this photo was taken was 14 July 2008, the French national holiday. Assad and Mubarak were then Sarkozy’s guests of honour at the military parade in Paris.
Nicolas Sarkozy, just before he lost the French elections, suddenly discovered that Assad was a dictator indeed. Similar to Libya: Sarkozy used to be a Gaddafi crony, before he became a warmonger about Libya. Not only did Sarkozy very suddenly discover that Gaddafi and later Assad were dictators, but also that the best way to bring democracy was supposedly bloody war killing and maiming many Libyan and Syrian civilians. Very unlike the Greek junta, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile, the apartheid regime in South Africa etc. etc. which all fell not because of any bloody invasion by foreign soldiers, but because the people themselves drove their own tyrants away.
It is not just Bashar al-Assad who is ‘responsible’ for the rise of Isis. When Amnesty revealed hanging in Assad’s prisons, we must remember that a few years earlier Bush and Blair were dispatching civilians to be tortured there too, by Robert Fisk.