Kate Seelye is vice president of the Middle East Institute. She was a journalist for NPR and PBS based in Beirut from 2000 to 2009.

In the president's speech on Libya, he laid out his moral argument for saving lives in defense of democracy, without boots on the ground—an American role that has won him support in the Arab world.

Syrian dissidents tell Kate Seelye that even if the anti-government demonstrations fail to topple the Assad regime, things will never be the same in the country—and the no-fly zone over Libya is helping their cause.