Where Is Russia’s Strongman in the Coronavirus Crisis?
Putin Lets Local Leaders Take the Credit and the Fall
As revolutions rocked authoritarian regimes from Tunis to Manama, pundits were quick to identify Syria’s leadership as the next to fall. Like other countries in the region, Syria is deeply impoverished. And on the face of it, the similarities between Damascus’ authoritarian system and those of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya are striking. Just as in Tunisia and Egypt, a single-party regime has ruled Syria with an iron fist for years. For the past five decades, it has kept the country under permanent emergency law, which, like in its North African counterparts, has been used to suppress calls for greater political participation. Yet despite various parallels, a closer look at Syria reveals that the Assad regime -- led for the past decade by Bashar al-Assad -- is unlikely to fall. Paradoxically, Syria’s grave economic situation and its Alawi minority rule, which has been safeguarded by repressive mechanisms, will prevent