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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - If you’re watching Tripoli from Damascus and your name is Bashar al-Assad, you’re very nervous.
Only a few months ago, who would have thought that Moammar Gadhafi would go down this way? Then again, who would have thought that Hosni Mubarak would wind up in a hospital bed in a courtroom cage?
The Arab spring continues to unfold in dramatic ways.
What’s happening in Libya will certainly have an impact in Syria. The Syrian protesters will be emboldened to continue their struggle against the al-Assad regime. Al-Assad and his allies probably will be emboldened to become even more aggressive in trying to crush the opposition.
The key will be the Syrian military and security services. Will they remain blindly loyal to al-Assad’s regime, or will we start seeing cracks? I suspect that some senior military officers eventually will say no more killing and torturing of unarmed civilian demonstrators.
It’s at that point that al-Assad rule could really be endangered.
The Libyan rebels received enormous assistance from the NATO allies. The airstrikes pounded Gadhafi’s troops and military facilities. In the end, the no-fly zone worked.
It’s unlikely that NATO will launch a similar operation against al-Assad’s military. I don’t see any desire on the part of the U.S. and its NATO allies to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.
Still, al-Assad should not rest easy. What eventually could bring him down is what brought Mubarak down – namely, the will of an angry and frustrated people seeking freedom. In the end, that may be even more powerful than NATO airstrikes.
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