Brain Bush’s Blog

Third Group

  • By : Brian Bush
  • March 29, 2011
  • 5:34 pm

Hi Everyone,

Today, the Syrian government resigned following weeks of anti-government protests.

President Bashar Assad is expected to address the nation on TV in a speech which many hope will include the decision to end the so-called 'emergency laws' in place for nearly 50 years.

These events of late are unprecedented in this country that has not seen demonstrations and disturbances on a scale like this in almost 30 years.

Mr. Assad is trying to not fall into the categories of the rulers of this region. There seems to be two groups when it comes to how Middle East leaders react to their own citizens. We have seen those who gave in to the will of their people and those who choose to turn their security forces against them.

The presidents of Tunisia and Egypt belong to the first group. They needed less than a month to understand that it was over for them.

Colonel Moammar Gadhafi belongs to the second group, and if it were not for the western allied intervention Gadhafi would have the whole of Libya back under his grip by now.

The younger Bashar Assad does have bad blood in his family history… but some believe he may be willing to bring about some serious change, and carve out a third way of leadership for his country – and the Arab world. Today's step is the first needed towards that.

But how far can he take change? His is carrying the ethnic affiliation of his power broker minority Alawite sect. If he goes – so will they.

But there are also external forces at work here. Assad may feel a bit more comfortable than some believe because neither Iranian President Ahmadinejad nor Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah thinks he needs to go.

And when we look even further afield, the International community has not paid the attention to him as they did for the leaders of Tunis, Egypt and Libya. He knows the west fears both Iran and Hizbolla gaining power in a vacuum of leadership should he exit – and thus the west will leave Mr. Assad largely alone in how he handles his civil unrest.

So in the end, Assad has no real reason to leave power – but he does have good reason to bring reforms and introduce a third group of Arab leadership that listens to the people. The thing that will stop that is the affiliation of his military, that is ruled by his own Alawite people.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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