After a decade of war, Assad’s presidency is intact but under tutelage
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but he has managed to save his regime at the cost of Syria’s destruction, thanks to his Russian and Iranian allies. However after 10 years of war, is he really the master of Syria?
In the spring of 2011, the discourse on Middle East desks in Western capitals was dominated by speculations on how long Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would last in power. The prevailing view was that it would be a matter of weeks, months perhaps, before the strongman of Syria was ousted, like his Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts, by protests sweeping the Arab world.
But a decade after the first demonstrations against his regime broke out, Assad is still in power in a country in physical ruins, economically on its knees and with a populace traumatised by an endless conflict. The Syrian war has cost several hundreds of thousand lives, displaced millions and plunged more than 80 percent of the population into poverty, according to the UN.
Saved by the interventions of his Russian and Iranian allies – with whom he must now deal with in his own country – the Syrian president has regained military control of large parts of Syria, even if violent clashes and the presence of jihadists are still a reality in certain areas.
Assad may be accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but there appears to be nothing to prevent the 55-year-old leader, who inherited the presidency following his father’s death in 2000, from winning yet another presidential election, this one scheduled for the summer…..read more