The authoritarian state in Syria is likely to remain in place regardless of the timing of Assad's departure
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 July 2012
"There is an assumption that once President Bashar al-Assad steps down, the authoritarian state, a family-based regime, will crash like a house of glass. But the structure of the authoritarian state in Syria is likely to remain in place regardless of the timing of his departure. The Assads have spent more than four decades safeguarding the building blocks of political authoritarianism and co-opting a broad coalition of social, political, sectarian and ethnic communities....
The question is not how long Assad can cling to power, but will the authoritarian structure survive him? Ironically, international diplomacy has mainly focused on forcing Assad out while keeping the system in place. The idea is to avoid a security vacuum (like that of Iraq after the US-led invasion and occupation in 2003) and all-out civil war that could destroy Syria's diverse social fabric and threaten neighbouring states. This means that post-Assad Syria will be fraught with severe challenges that might exacerbate and prolong its transition from political authoritarianism to pluralism."