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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Syria’s Bashar Assad Hangs Onto Power Despite Turmoil

In this July 13, 2008, file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma arrive for a formal dinner after a Mediterranean Summit meeting at the Petit Palais in Paris. (AP)

In this July 13, 2008, file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma arrive for a formal dinner after a Mediterranean Summit meeting at the Petit Palais in Paris. (AP)

The revolt against the Syrian regime is now more than a year old and has claimed an estimated 10,000 lives.

This week, international outrage has flared up after reports of more than 100 civilians killed in the village of Houla.

So how has President Bashar Assad been able to hold onto power when other Middle Eastern leaders have fallen?

One reason could be that Assad, and his wife, Asma, still enjoy support across the country from people of all walks of life. They also have support in all of Syria’s religious communities.

But ultimately, economic issues could undermine Assad.

The international community is putting increased pressure on Syria, and the economy is now beginning to fail, which could turn Assad’s supporters into dissenters and damage his ability to maintain power.

Guest:

  • Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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