Bashar Assad still enjoys support from states preferring him to chaos. In the Gulf and Iraq, leaders facing popular rebellions of their own have no wish to see another despot ousted; nor do they want to have to manage a dangerous political void in Syria. Saudi Arabia still seeks cooperation with Damascus to contain Shiite influence in Lebanon and Iraq. Pointedly, the Syrian government defended the deployment of Gulf forces in Bahrain on behalf of the Sunni Al-Khalifa monarchy, even as Iran sided with the marginalized Shiites. Damascus won't soon break with Tehran, but Assad needs the Saudis on his side to help absorb anger, especially Sunni anger, at home.I feel like all the Middle Eastern autocracies used the same logic. Either you have me, brutal dictator, or you have a chaotic democracy where [insert radical force here] could take over. Its a neat trick, but one that the protesters know is losing its luster.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
This or Chaos
Syria is on the verge of its own civilian revolution. Bashar Assad, the leader of Syria, takes over where his father left off ruling during a 40 year state of emergency. How did he do this? Michael Young explains for Slate: