Amid a mounting chorus of regional and international condemnation, culminating in demands by the United States (US), the European Union (EU) and others for Syrian President Bashar al Asad to step down, the stakes are being raised ever higher for the Syrian leader as he struggles to weather what is increasingly becoming a stormy situation. Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing political crisis in Syria, what is beyond doubt is that the political foundations of the country, laid by Hafez al Asad, are being violently redrawn as Syria undergoes a process of political upheaval unprecedented in its recent history. The regional environment and the narrative of Arab nationalism, which held sway during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, helped sustain Hafez in power for three decades. Under his leadership Syria became a strategic player whose influence extended throughout the region, especially in neighbouring Lebanon.
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