June 9, 2020

THE rIGHT'S VERSION OF "WINNING":

Assad's 20-year rule, from Damascus Spring to pariah (TONY GAMAL-GABRIEL AND HASHEM OSSEIRAN, 6/09/20, AFP)

The brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011, and the war that has since killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions, have undermined his international legitimacy.

A spate of sanctions imposed by the European Union and United States, the latest of which are due to go into force this month, have compounded a crippling economic crisis.

Most of the population is living in poverty and the Syrian pound has hit an all-time low against the dollar, triggering a fresh wave of dissent in government-held areas while violence continues to stalk regions that evade Assad's control.

Syria has also lost its status as a regional heavyweight under Assad's watch and is now widely seen as heavily dependant on Russia, Iran and an assortment of Tehran-backed militias, including the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

"Hafez had always kept Syria independent from foreign interference. Bashar has become beholden to external influence to keep his regime intact," said Neep.

"What we're seeing now is a strange, sub-contracted form of political authority that has no precedent in modern Syrian politics."

For Itani, Bashar's reign is a far cry from the days when Syria was a major independent strategic player in the region that held political and military dominance over Lebanon and controlled the tempo of operations against Israel.

"Bashar al-Assad's Syria is a strategic and economic failure," he said.

In Assad's third decade in power, the country "will be an impoverished rump of its past self", Itani predicted.

Posted by at June 9, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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