First Egypt, then Libya. Beloved, I am fairly confident Syria's aggressively violent and dictatorial rule against its own under-privileged and those who are at the top of the intellectual population is probably next to fall.

First Egypt, then Libya. Beloved, I am fairly confident Syria's aggressively violent and dictatorial rule against its own under-privileged and those who are at the top of the intellectual population is probably next to fall.

Unfortunately, because of the horrible nature of this repressive regime and the terrorism they have used to hold on to power, I am also confident that it will take a much bloodier effort on the part of Syria's internal insurgents and their out-of-state friends around the world to uplift the current leadership from the seat of power.

Modern-day Syria is cloaked under the ancient history of what eventually turned out to be the massive Turkish Ottoman Empire of the late 13th century. Even before the formation of the Ottoman dynasty, there were remarkable historical highlights that have garnered the Syrian landscape, such as the Trojan War, which was fought 1,250 before the birth of Christ.

Homer was born there (700 B.C.) and Alexander the Great pushes the Persians of Syrian soil in 337 B.C. The Apostle Paul had several great evangelistic successes for early Christianity in the Syrian territory. There is even the birth of a politically-motivated, drug-induced assassin cult called the "hashishiyah," who were a medieval Shiite sect known as the Nizari Ismailis.

When we move forward to modern-day Syria, we find France occupying the country for approximately 20 years right after World War I, until Syrian nationalists fought for their freedom from French rule. After just five short years, the independent governing Syria found itself under was a military dictatorship.

By 1954, that government was overthrown by the Syrian army. Less than 10 years later, the Baath Party (the same political force that backed Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq) was in control of the country and, yet, three years later, in 1966, the army –– yet again –– deposed of that government.

Finally, this short history of coup after coup comes to a close just four years later in 1970 –– after a bloodless coup, the military (moderate) wing of the Baath Party seized power. They were led by Lt. Gen. Hafiz al-Assad, who was elected president in March 1971 and ruled until his death in 2000. After the death of Hafiz al-Assad, his son, Bashar al-Assad, a medical doctor, succeeded him and is currently the head of the Syrian government.

The Assads’ real family name is "Sulayman," and its origin goes back to Ali Sulayman (1875-1963), who in addition to being firmly connected to the most powerful historical ruler of the old Ottomon Empire, also in 1927 changed his last name to "al-Assad," which means "the lion" in Arabic.

Syrian cultural understanding of its position of regional authority is a tangible goal. Make no mistake that the very real connection to the iconic Sulayman name and its history of power and prestige is in play. The same tribalistic sense of power and harsh authoritative rule is also a factor in the al-Assad family's notorious and enthusiastic support of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Syria provides training, weapons and safe haven as well as logistical support for both groups. The head of another anti-Israeli Islamist Palestinian group called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has headquarters in Damascus, Syria. Again, make no mistake that this "Lion of the Desert" or the ancient terrorism of "the assassins" or the wanting to revive the "Sulayman" empire is part of the al-Assad family’s way of thinking.

This way of "thinking" is what prompted Syria's incursion into Lebanon that has lasted decades. It is the same reason when Lebanon political leaders started to assert their rightful authority by wanting to get rid of Syrian forces from their country, the historical assassin system came back to surgically remove those people from leading the movement against Syrian power.

Tens of thousands of Syrian people desperately want to depose this family's rule of violent intimidation and are fighting an uphill battle. Given the characteristic of the Syrian culture, their hope of removing themselves from the bonds of both practical and cultural tyranny will depend on many things falling into place over the next couple of years.

First, painful as it may sound, more lives are going to have to be sacrificed while a growing number of middle-class family leaders grow aggressively impatient with the status quo.

Secondly, the international community that matters to the Syrian people must succeed at severely pressuring the political, cultural, economic and militaristic sectors of society in hopes of providing the insurmountable incentive to remove the al-Assad family and its Baath party affiliation from power.

Thirdly, a few substantial weapons need to be back-channeled into the hands of those who want to revolt. Why? Because they are quite literally being slaughtered on a regular basis.

Finally –– and this is incredibly important given the history of modern-day Syria –– the military needs to come to the conclusion that taking over the government through another coup is far more reasonable than letting the country fall to the same fate as Egypt and Libya.

If all of this falls into place, it could save thousands of future lives and provide renewed stability in the region. If this scenario doesn't happen, another tragic and bloody mess will yet again happen to this ancient country. I suspect it's going to get a lot worse before it even gets a chance to get better.

The Rev. Ed Schneider is the president of Bishop's Pastoral College and the pastor of The Rock church of Oak Ridge, Tenn.