News

Analysts Say Syrian President Unlikely to Stay in Power

An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on April 5, 2012, shows the funeral of five Syrian men in Duma near the capital, Damascus.
An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on April 5, 2012, shows the funeral of five Syrian men in Duma near the capital, Damascus.
Laurel Bowman

A U.N.-Arab League peacekeeping team has touched down in Syria, where  monitors hope to lay the groundwork for a mission aimed at ending the violence in that country.

Activists say government forces are launching fresh attacks daily, despite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s agreement to a ceasefire, part of a peace plan brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.


The revolution that sparked, then blazed across the Arab World reached Syria in March of 2011. When residents took to the streets to protest the torture of students, the government responded with heavy force. Anti-government demonstrations quickly spread.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his well-armed military have kept a tight grip on power for more than a year. But many analysts say the regime’s days are numbered.

Marius Deeb is a professor of Middle East studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Reporter: "Do you think Assad will survive?"
Deeb: "I don’t think so."
Reporter: "Why not?"
Deeb: "Because he has at least a minimum 80 percent of the population against him.  It might take a long time for him to fall but he is not going to survive."

Assad and much of the country’s ruling elite belong to the Alawite sect, a minority in the mostly Sunni country.

Of late, Syria has few friends in the Arab world. Arab nations have pledged $100 million dollars to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration has agreed to send communications equipment.

“The world will not waiver," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Assad must go. And the Syrian people must be free to choose their own path forward.”:

Some analysts have derided the prospects of a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan, which calls on the government to implement a cease-fire on April 10, with opposition forces following suit. But Middle East Institute Scholar Daniel Serwer thinks it’s a step in the right direction.

“Continuation of the violence is not in the American interest, it’s not in the Syrian interest, it's not in the international community’s interest,” said Serwer.

Long-time ally Iran will stay by Syria’s side, analysts say, but some predict Russia may abandon its traditional friend.

“Their [the Russians] primary concerns will be port access and arms sales and at some point a dictator who is on his way out is in no position to guarantee those things,” added Serwer.

Analysts expect that the opposition in Syria will gain further international support, and they urge rebels to assure minority groups they won’t be persecuted. Most agree that the discontent with Assad has grown beyond what he can control.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hassan
April 06, 2012 5:04 AM
It’s time for Putin to step up and be a man. The long term interests of Russia are more important than the survival of a thin skinned dictator who hides behind his wife. Putin needs to begin serious negotiations with the Syrian Transitional Council to protect Russia’s naval base and other Russian Syrian interests. Once an agreement is reached, Putin can assist the rest of the world in getting rid of this petty dictator who has been a disaster for the Syrian economy and the Syrian people.

by: Wim Roffel
April 06, 2012 5:04 AM
Assad has some support from Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

That 80% is against him is very unlikely. He has support of many of the Christians and Alawites, the Kurds are overwhelmingly neutral and a considerable part of the Arab Sunni's support him too. It looks like the actual number of his adversaries is rather small, but as many are fundamentalists they are very motivated.

The "Arab nations" that have pled 100 million are only the Wahabi dictatorships Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs