A decade ago, popular revolutions erupted in a number of Arab countries against authoritarianism, oppression and poverty, and anger overthrew the presidents and “dictatorial” regimes that ruled their countries with an iron fist for decades, even if they did not always bring the desired freedom and prosperity.

Only Syrian President Bashar al Assad has withstood the revolution, isolation, war and resentment, despite the destruction, death and displacement that has struck his country and continues to be.

Experts and politicians say that Assad, who many had predicted would fall under street pressure weeks after the start of the popular uprising against him, benefited from the intersection of internal factors, most notably his control of security and military forces, and external, chiefly the West’s reluctance to use force against him in exchange for decisive military support from Iran and then Russia to remain in power.

Added to this, patience and an investment of time factor are well known in the Assad family, which has ruled Syria since the beginning of the seventies.

When the peaceful protests began in mid-March 2011, Assad chose force, and a destructive conflict quickly turned into a destructive conflict, exacerbated by the escalating influence of the jihadi organizations and the interference of several external parties that contributed to complicating the scene. 

Assad classified everyone who took up arms against him as a “terrorist”.

Despite the killing of more than 380,000 people, the arrest of tens of thousands, the destruction of the infrastructure, the depletion of the economy, and the displacement and displacement of more than half of the population, Assad kept his position.

Today, his forces control more than seventy percent of the country, while the people are suffering from a severe economic crisis with the depletion of state resources and the repercussions of international sanctions imposed on the government.

Analysts believe that Assad, who succeeded his late father Hafez al Assad in 2000, inherited from him a cold temper and a mysterious personality, and he studied patience at his hand.

Veteran Lebanese politician Karim Pakradouni told AFP: “After the whole world demanded his departure years ago and thought that he would fall, today he wants to find a solution with him. 

Assad knew how to invest the time factor”.

Since the outbreak of the conflict, Assad has not hesitated in declaring his great confidence in the ability to win even in his most vulnerable moments.

Pakradouni, who for a long time played the mediating role between the Syrian government and Lebanese parties during the crises in the two countries, added, “Assad did not take any step back. 

He clung to all his positions without any modification. 

By military force, he was able to regain most of the Syrian lands.

According to Pakradouni, the Syrian army proved that “it is an ideological and regular army that managed to continue and protect Syria in the worst situations and did not turn against it as in other countries, and this is what made Assad an exceptional model in what is known as the Arab Spring revolutions”.

The army, which is the most prominent weapon of dictatorial regimes, remained intact and loyal to Assad, despite tens of thousands of soldiers defecting from it after the outbreak of the conflict. 

Meanwhile, the Tunisian army’s abandonment of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali pushed him, under pressure from the demonstrations, to leave the country on January 14, 2011 for Saudi Arabia.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also resigned on February 11, 2011, after realizing that the army was no longer protecting him. 

A large number of military divisions turned against the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, respectively, and he fled and left power, before he was killed by the revolutionaries on October 20, 2011.

Ben Ali later died in Jeddah and Mubarak in Egypt, from the consequences of the disease.

Thomas Perret, a researcher at the Institute for Research and Studies on the Arab and Islamic World, explains to France Press that the internal factors that contributed to Assad’s survival in power can be summarized with one title: “The continued loyalty of the army leadership, which has been strengthened over decades by Assad’s relatives and followers” ​​from the Alawite sect to which he belongs. 

They “probably constituted more than eighty percent of the officers in 2011 and held practically every influential position” within the army.

A Syrian researcher in Damascus, who refused to reveal his name to France Press, said, “It is undeniable the role of the Assad character in his survival, and the persistence and rigor he knows about. 

He was able to restrict all decisions in his hands and make the army completely with him.

The Syrian regime’s structure did not produce leading figures who could play a prominent role in confronting it.

Rather, it “blocked the way for any figure who tried to build a space for it” in the country’s future, according to the same source.

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