The Source of Assad's Staying Power

When Basil Assad, oldest son and heir apparent to the late President Hafez Assad, was killed in a car accident in 1994, the father turned to his inexperienced son Bashar to groom him for the presidency. Whereas Basil was trained in military and political affairs and the workings of the state, Bashar was studying ophthalmology in England and showed little promise that he could embrace the operative skills in domestic and foreign affairs of his shrewd father. I was told by top Syrian officials, who are still in positions of power, that the elder Assad wanted to leave nothing to chance. He reduced his political philosophy to seven principles (which he drilled in his son's mind) to safeguard the security and stability of the state and ensure the continuity of the Assad dynasty. First, Syria must maintain and further strengthen ties with its allies, emphasizing in particular the importance of the financial support of Iran, Russia's military supplies, and the political backing of both....(Read Full Article)

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