Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Syria: Regime Squelches All Attempts at Protest

The wave of protests sweeping through the Arab world has not passed Syria by, but has sparked some demonstrations and attempts to organize large-scale protests. However, in contrast to the regimes of other Arab countries, the Syrian regime has so far managed to suppress the protest, and has in fact used the Middle East crisis to strengthen its position both inside and outside the country. The regime's firm grip is maintained through a years-long policy of attacking and squelching any opposition forces, which has been tightened even further in the recent weeks; a nearly absolute control of the media and the maintaining of media obscurity regarding events in the country; widespread deployment of the security forces and the harnessing of popular forces; and recent measures aimed at easing economic distress through financial benefits that severely stretch the national budget.