SYRIA: Democracy Must Wait

Small, hard-bitten Adib Shishekly paced the floor of his presidential palace in Damascus one night last week, downing a highball or two. He was discouraged: everything seemed to be going wrong. For four years he had tried to unify and stabilize Syria, but the country was riddled with disaffection and on the edge of revolt. At that very hour, armed units patrolled the streets of Horns, Aleppo, and Damascus itself, and soldiers battled sullen Druze tribesmen in the remote mountainous province of Jebel Druze.

Worst of all, the reluctant strongman's experiment in democracy had come a cropper. Four years ago...