Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Can the Syrian regime crush the uprising? Yes, suggests history

Bashar al-Assad's fall is far from inevitable: past Middle Eastern uprisings have failed more often than succeeded

Chris Phillips

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 6 March 2012

".......The more the regime kill, the more they risk affecting extended families in other cities, widening the opposition. Recent demonstrations in the previously loyal middle-class district of Mezze in Damascus suggest the tide of public support may yet turn, particularly if the economy continues to decline under the weight of sanctions and unrest.

For now, however, as with Algeria, Iraq and his father before him, the pillars of Bashar's regime remain in place. Recent historical examples in the region illustrate how difficult it is to unseat a ruling regime without the assistance of western firepower. In its absence, those seeking to topple Assad must thus consider how best to erode those pillars in a manner least damaging to Syria in the long run.

For those wondering about Assad's next move, however, policymakers could do worse than look at the past Algerian, Iraqi and Syrian examples for a dictator's handbook on how to survive an uprising."

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