The Middle East after Assad

No one should harbor false hopes about the coming change in Syria: Assad’s regime will not be supplanted by a rule-of-law democracy. At the same time, developments in Syria entail not only risks, but also opportunities for the region, given the strategic weakening of Iran in a post-Assad era.

BERLIN – What will the Middle East look like once the Syrian civil war brings about the fall of President Bashar al-Assad, whose clan has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years? Given the recent dramatic turn of events that has pushed the battle for Syria to a new stage, this question can no longer be avoided.

The successful bomb attack on Assad’s innermost circle, the spread of the fighting into the capital, Damascus (and to the borders with Turkey and Iraq), and the increasing flow of heavier and more precise arms to the insurgents mark the beginning of the endgame. But no one should harbor false hopes about the coming change: Assad’s regime will not be supplanted by a rule-of-law democracy. On the contrary, the post-Assad era is likely to be even more chaotic and violent, as the regime’s opponents attempt to settle accounts with its supporters and conflict erupts among various clans and religious communities.

As in other Arab countries, a secular tyranny will be replaced by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, which in Syria, no less than in Egypt and Tunisia, represents the majority of the population. But, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, regime change will be the outcome of civil war. Outside influence, moreover, will probably be minimal.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/30WU5ui;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.