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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs