Bashar al-Assad: Syria's hope for the dictator

A border crossing from. Only on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Bab al-Hawa, in the future, aid should come in the few remaining opponents of the regime-contr

Bashar al-Assad: Syria's hope for the dictator

A border crossing from. Only on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Bab al-Hawa, in the future, aid should come in the few remaining opponents of the regime-controlled areas in Syria. Thus, three of the original four entrances are tight. So Russia and China have made it last week in the UN security Council.

The two veto powers argue, the UN aid program that violates the sovereignty of Syria, as the government in Damascus does not have this formally approved. News agencies that Moscow wants to leave the aid is gradually phased out. However, in the North-West of Syria, data of 2.8 million people are in need, according to UN humanitarian assistance.

"With the Shoe on the head"

self-assertion by ruthless pressure on the population: This strategy is characteristic of the domination style of that man, whose interests Russia and China represented in the highest UN body. Since his swearing-in, 20 years ago, on 17. In July 2000, supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad his rule on the principle of fear and dread. "There is no other way to govern our society, except with the Shoe on the head of the people", quoted in Sam Dagher, of the years for the "Wall Street Journal" from Damascus had reported, a statement by the young Bashar al-Assad from the year 1995.

In that year, his older brother Basil died in a car accident and now Bashar al-Assad to succeed his father Hafiz al-Assad was built, which had ruled the country since 1970, with an iron Hand. In this time, the Journalist Dagher in his 2019 published biography of the al-Assad family, is also the inner transformation of the then 30-Year-old had to break free from the shadow of his overbearing father.

Assad has modernized the surveillance state

Bashar al-Assad, many seemed at first a very different ruler to his type as his father or brother: less gritty, more restrained acting. In the mid-1990s, he lived in London, where he completed his medical degree training at the eye doctor. A Western trained physicians as the successor of a middle Eastern dictator: This promising Image was of benefit to him in his early days as a head of state. For a short time Syria experienced with the "Damascus spring," a period in which intellectuals are relatively open about democracy and citizen participation have been able to discuss. Bashar was considered by many as a beacon of hope.

A mistake, says the journalist Kristin Helberg, reported for a long time as one of the few Western journalists out of Damascus, and several books on Assad's Syria has written. "The image of the bearer of hope was based on a misunderstanding." Many Syrians and Western politicians have adopted, who is interested in computers and the Internet, and in England, training leave, will reform the country.

"Actually was and is Bashar but not a Reformer," says Helberg, compared to the DW. His self understanding was that of a Moderniser been. "Give up power or change the rule structure of his father, fundamentally, to do this, Bashar was neither ready nor able. He was and is a child of a 50-year-old surveillance state, at all levels, authoritarian and a ruthless domination of a clan is not exploited, even if his appearance is that of a blustering dictator."

"Have no pity!"

Bashar al-Assad not only knew the world open London. As familiar he was with the dictatorial conditions in the home - as well as of the dangers which could threaten the ruling family. So was arrested in his youth, a Chauffeur from the environment of the family. He had planned an attack on the young Bashar, it said. "The Assad-children took from the incident the lesson that can hide your enemy is everywhere. You can't give him a Chance," Dagher says biographer. "You have to find the traitor anywhere. You need to plucking, where you always find you", taught by Hafiz al-Assad his son. And: "Have no pity!"

Assad Senior had heeded this Maxim since the beginning of the 1970s, consistently and Syria in a police and torture state is transformed. The Journalist Mustafa Khalifa, for years in French exile, was because of his criticism of the Regime's years in the notorious prison Tadmur near the desert city of Palmyra. In his novel "The worm house" he portrays the systematic torture of prisoners, by daily acts of extreme Violence to Drink out of a sewer pipe, a mixture of "saliva, snot, urine and other Filth".

fear as an instrument of domination

The torture is significant for the dealing of the regime with critics and opponents. "The whole Syrian population has Interview anxiety," said Khalifa in the DW. "We all know that there are these prisons and to death, and tortured. All know, it is only the law of the jungle, but the people don't want to put their lives on the game. These are the methods of the regime."

This style of government was Bashar al-Assad is soon to own. Modernization, Yes, political reform no: are the premises from which he can be guided. "These people have lost their minds, they live in a fantasy world," he commented in the year 2000, immediately after he took office, compared to his former Familiar, the later escaped commander Manaf expect them to, as the Syrians call the "Damascus spring" democracy. "Give them a Finger and they want the whole Hand," he says to another employee.

press To such wishes, and needs-Assad with a sophisticated apparatus - today, more than ever, says Kristin Helberg. "For Assad, the security apparatus is essential. His father built a network of various secret services, which compete with each other and each other in check. No head of the secret service is powerful enough to coups against Assad."

The dictator has its sovereignty, playful

Nevertheless, Bashar al-Assad is in the tenth year of the war, hardly more master of Syria, even if much of the country now again formally under his control. The uprising of 2011, he had been beat brutally, the resulting war has claimed more than 500.000 deaths, many of them go to his account.

The discussion in the UN security Council to the delivery of aid shows how Assad has to rely mainly on the help of Moscow. Russia does its military support to pay dearly, as well as Iran, Assad's makes second protection. Both States are militarily, politically and economically in Syria present and the future development of the country will be of your liking embossed. Politically, Assad has gambled away his country's independence.

For the President, there is no going Back, says Helberg. Any real Reform would bring the System to collapse. "That's why his Regime can only continue as in the past, suppress, torture, corrupt - and at any price struggle led to keeping in power with lies and Propaganda as a struggle against the terrorist sell."

author: Kersten Knipp

*The article "Bashar al-Assad: Syria's hopes to the dictator" will be released by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 16 July 2020, 23:26

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