In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children. - Herodotus (484 BC - 430 BC)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues to flaunt a dissonance from his country's political reality that can only spell doom for him in the long run of history. Assad has been at war with his own people for two years, but he did not find that to be distraction enough to create life in the midst of it.
His enigmatic, British-born wife Asma al-Assad is pregnant, and the baby may have been conceived in June, 2012, or around the same time that the UN suspended its observer mission in Syria citing the rising violence, or when NATO was rounded up after a Turkish jet was shot down by Syrian forces.
The president's strong belief in his ability to win (or more accurately, force) re-election despite the turmoil in his country can only serve to threaten the well-being of his apparently-growing family. Articles have "strained to show Assad as coolly confident," as he confirmed rumors of Asma al-Assad's pregnancy that have been floating around Middle East media sites since November. On the other hand, the Syrian first lady has been criticized for being absent during her country's painful search for identity, and even controversially profiled by the French Vogue magazine as "glamorous, young, and very chic ... the element of light in a country full of shadow zones."
The last flames of the Arab Spring have continued to burn in Syria, and the government continues the mass executions of the Syrian population to repress the revolutions. The geopolitical scare of potential sectarian-fueled chaos after the fall of Assad may have created a scenario where Assad's power is seen as the lesser of two horrors, but his arrogance will not help salvage the country's broken psyche.
The families of recent overthrown dictators have had to seek cover any where they can find, chased and hunted down in the name of justice similar to the Bolshevik uprising of 1917 that led to the massacre of the Romanov family. Bashar al-Assad has created enough hatred amongst his own people for one not to draw a comparison between the two, and if Asma al-Assad is as savvy and analytically minded as her Vogue profile indicated then hopefully she's aware of the danger she's placing on her yet-to-be born child.
For the child's sake, one can only hope Assad's belief in his popularity and sustained power is grounded in reality, but that reality has cost many a Syrian their own children.