Thursday, May 5, 2011

Syria trying to hold off the Arab Spring

Each of the Middle Eastern countries is unique and has to be understood individually, even though the Arab Spring continues to bloom and all of the Middle Eastern tyrannies are doomed, eventually, I believe. 

Syria is an especially nasty police state, it seems to me.  Assad continues to brutalize his population with impunity.  Apparently, Assad heads up an Alawite minority elite who understand that they must stick together in order to stay in power and rule over a largely Sunni majority country.  Assad and the Alawites control the military, and they have loyal connections to a Sunni Baathist political monopoly.  So, this situation is different than Egypt, where the military turned on Mubarak as a way to appease the population and protect their own hold on power at the same time.   The entrenched powers don’t want to turn on Assad because they will fall with him, and the surrounding states want to keep their own status quo so they don’t want to do much to destabilize the Syrian status quo.

So, there are many forces against the spread of the Arab Spring to Syria, but my money is on the passion for freedom arising in the Muslim world.  The fires of freedom have been kindled and feed upon themselves.  Qaddafi and Assad are doing their best to quench them, but I think the most they can do is delay them temporarily.