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The Syrian Spring…

Among the reforms asked for by the opposition there is the creation of a real multiparty system which can also be joined by those opposition parties who aren’t part of the National Progressive Front. The NPF is dominated by the Baʻṯ party and is responsible for the cancellation of the emergency laws in force since 1963, the abolition of special courts, the fight against corruption and the freedom of the press and of speech.

The social awakening of the Syrian people has occurred late in comparison to other Arabic speaking countries. In one article published in March 2011, the Syrian expert Bassām Ḥaddād, manager of the “Middle East Studies Program” at George Mason University, explained the factors that cause such delay. He claimed that Bašār al-Asad was convinced that uprisings will never be able to undermine his country’s stability; in fact, in one interview released for the “Wall Street Journal” he claimed “we are not Tunisians, we are not Egyptians”. Syrians have fewer liberties than Egyptian citizens under the former Mubārak regime. Unlike the civil Syrian society, the Egyptian one had more freedom of speech, assembly and of the press. Therefore a public space existed and there were more possibilities to organize protests and demonstrations. Furthermore, Egyptian and Tunisian civil societies were more rooted, active and complex than the Syrian one.

The second factor can be noticed in the presence of ethnic confessional groups whose mediator is the regime. These groups sharpen divisions and discourage cohesion in the opposition, making the possibility of a union against a common enemy unlikely. As a third factor the author highlights the presence of a strong army that has a close relationship with the regime. The fourth and last factor is the “endurance”. The regime is popular and has a sort of Arabic nationalist legitimacy because, according to the author, the Syrian government put up a fight against Israeli policies. Unlike other Arabic leaders, Bašār al-Asad always refused to form an alliance with the United States. ..

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