Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof is quoted by BuzzFeed on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad:
Frederic C. Hof, then a senior U.S. official tasked with negotiating peace between Syria and Israel, didn’t buy into Assad’s reformist image, but thought: “This is Bashar’s opportunity. He’s been talking about reform and a new Syria for nearly 11 years.” […]
From there Syria’s’s violent path became increasingly clear. “When I saw the regime applying the same formula [of cracking down on protests], one time after another, it was obvious that this was a one-way trip,” said Hof, the former negotiator, who soon became President Barack Obama’s special advisor on transition in Syria.