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Addressing parliament on June 7, 2016, Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected power-sharing by calling for a national unity government, instead of what the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council demanded in 2012: a transitional governing body arrived at via the mutual consent of regime and opposition negotiators. As the Syrian constitution accords all power to the presidency, a national unity government – a prime minister and Cabinet of ministers – would be just as powerless, listless and pathetic as what passes for a government in today's Syria. The Assad system breathes on the pure oxygen of absolute power.Russia's leadership is not normal, and this gives Assad the ability to bite the hand that feeds and to do so with complete confidence.Putin tells his people what he told the U.N. General Assembly last year: that "regime change and democratization" must be stopped cold. Assad is his poster child. With the exception of Iran – which sees Assad as the only Syrian willing to subordinate himself to Tehran's Lebanese militia – the Assad regime is a drag on one and all. But Assad and his family will not move.
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