Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire by Flynt Leverett

By Flynt Leverett

Syria has lengthy been a paradox for U.S. Policymakers. The country’s susceptible economic climate, various inhabitants, and susceptible geographic place will be anticipated to lessen its clout within the higher center East. yet below long-time dictator Hafiz al-Asad and his son and successor Bashar, Syria has been and remains to be a massive nearby actor. Syria occupies a huge strategic place within the center East, one made much more major as American considers long term involvement within the reconstruction of neighboring Iraq. Syria has cultivated a number of Lebanese consumers and allies—most significantly Hizballah—during its greater than twenty-year profession of Lebanon. Damascus, which sees Israel as a hegemonic energy, is still intransigent on Israel’s entire withdrawal from the disputed Golan Heights because the sine qua non for peace with that country. because the demise of Hafiz al-Asad in 2000 and the move of energy to Bashar, debate on Syria’s position within the quarter has been renewed. The coverage demanding situations posed by means of Syria’s frustrating habit on a couple of fronts have grown extra urgent within the current defense setting, and the USA has had hassle formulating a coherent and powerful coverage towards Damascus. Western consensus on easy methods to take care of the Syrian management has been thrown additional into doubt. Inheriting Syria fills this void with a close analytic portrait of the Syrian regime below the management of the Asad dynasty and the strategic legacy bequeathed from father to son. It attracts implications for U.S. coverage, delivering a daring new approach for attaining American targets, principally through a "conditional engagement" utilising either carrots and sticks. This process will be self reliant of the Arab-Israeli peace approach and hence a ancient departure for the us. A hugely readable research of Bashar al-Asad’s ascendancy and method of rule, Inheriting Syria presents priceless insights to someone all in favour of occasions within the heart East, the battle on terror, and the way forward for American overseas coverage. it really is a huge source for all who search deeper figuring out of this enigmatic state and its management.

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Understanding the sources of that stability is critical to assessing the challenges confronting Bashar alAsad today. Pillars of Stability At its foundations, the stability of Asad’s regime rested on three pillars. These were his nearly absolute mastery of the instruments of power, his construction of a social base sufficiently broad to reinforce his hold on those instruments, and the establishment of a centralized and highly personalized presidential system supported by a strong cult of personality.

The right of the Syrian population to establish civil society organizations is enshrined in the Syrian Constitution (Article 39), but this is hardly reflected in the reality in Syria under the Asad regime. During Hafiz al-Asad’s tenure, a handful of Syrian intellectuals, such as Sadiq al-‘Azm and Muhammad ‘Aziz Shukri, managed to establish themselves in the 1980s as civil society theorists with some measure of freedom to articulate their views publicly and even develop ties outside the region. 60 But the emergence of truly independent political associations was inhibited by the government’s use of long-standing emergency powers to crack down on opposition figures.

57 The Islamization of Sunni society is not unique to Syria; given Syria’s recent history, though, it has special significance there, raising the specter of a resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood and, prospectively, Islamist rule in Syria. But there are also reasons to argue that genuine political openness in Syria would not automatically mean an assumption of power by the Brotherhood. 58 In a more open environment, Sunni politics in Syria might display more complexity and nuance than assumptions of reflexive support for the Muslim Brotherhood would predict.

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