News / Middle East

Analysts: In Syria, Few Arab Spring Lessons Apply

Analyst: Few Lessons in Arab Spring Apply to Syriai
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
June 05, 2012 11:48 PM
The sentencing of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak to life in prison marks an important, if imperfect, step in the transition to a post-autocratic rule. Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks look at whether the lesson of Mubarak, or other deposed leaders in the region, could apply to Syria.

Analyst: Few Lessons in Arab Spring Apply to Syria

Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - In the past year and a half, uprisings across the Arab world have toppled four men whose rule had lasted decades.

Tunisia's Zine el Abidine Ben Ali fled into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Libya's Moammar Gadhafi held on longer, but with NATO intervention was forced underground and eventually killed by his own people.

In Yemen, a diplomatic solution ended the standoff; a regional deal pushed a reluctant Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand power to his deputy.

The life sentence handed down on Saturday to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who resigned last year amid mass protest, offers the latest case study of Arab autocrats versus the people.

What does this all mean in terms of resolving the violence in Syria after its Arab Spring uprising? Likely not much, analysts say.

Situations differ

Nadim Shehadi of London-based Chatham House says the history of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, like Libya's Gadhafi, is different from the leaders ousted in Tunisia and Egypt.

"It's too late for President Bashar al-Assad to follow the footsteps of either Ben Ali or of Mubarak because he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of an opposition and he is still fighting it all the way," he says. "So, his choice is either an end like Gadhafi, or have an Ali Abdullah Saleh kind of deal."

Arab leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council were able, after several false promises from the Yemeni president, to ensure a handover of power to his deputy.

In recent weeks, the Yemen model has gained traction in the international community, as other diplomatic efforts founder.

Shehadi says it is probably not realistic.

“I find that it is going to be very difficult to do a deal with President Assad because I think the international community has lost faith in anything he says," he says. "So, there isn't enough trust to make a deal with him. Even President Ali Abdullah Saleh kept playing games after he made the deal. And he is still playing games.”

Assad exile unlikely

Cairo-based political analyst Hisham Kassem agrees that the Yemen model holds little hope for Syria. He argues that the idea of exile, like Ben Ali, could once have been a possibility, with President Assad finding refuge in ally Iran.

But Kassem thinks that moment has passed.

“Maybe Bashar now is wondering whether he should have followed Ben Ali's model some time ago, you see, because Bashar can only stay in power through blood," he says. "So, maybe it is too late and he could be thinking if he did not make a mistake by following the Ben Ali's model.”

Like many analysts, Kassem has little hope for a diplomatic solution.

“I don't think at this point Bashar is observing or trying to learn more," he says. "He is becoming one-track minded and he knows that nothing can save him unless he continues with this massacre and wins.”

If President Assad's rule does come to a forced end, Kassem says the Syrian leader is likely to face a situation similar to Gadhafi's.

And that, he says, is something Assad knows.

VOA's Japhet Weeks contributed to this story from Cairo.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid