Syria: Society, Culture, and Polity

By Richard T. Antoun; Donald Quataert | Go to book overview

Six Asad: Between Institutions and Autocracy

Patrick Seale

Most would say that Hafiz al-Asad, master of Syria since 1970, was an autocrat, an "oriental despot," differing only about the nature of the autocracy he runs. Is Asad simply the head of a junta of generals who might be compared with some Latin American military leaders of recent memory? Is he perhaps more like a party boss on East European lines, a variant of his friend, the former Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov? Or should he more properly be situated in the Arab tradition of the za'im, whose power derives from and is exercised through a network of patronage?

Some might prefer to say that Asad's regime is not like any of these models but should be seen as representing the triumph of a sectarian minority, the long-repressed Alawis, over their rivals in a Levantine society profoundly divided on ethnic and religious lines. In this argument, his rule, built on an accident of military power, can only be a freak of history, which must eventually give way to a system more representative of Syrian reality. This last model, of a Syria in thrall to an exploiting and dominant minority, is the one that hostile observers most often adduce to interpret Asad's Syria. Like all caricatures it reflects a measure of truth while--again like a caricature--overstressing a single trait at the expense of the whole. Certainly it is the interpretation that Asad resents most, considering it an unfair representation of the state system he has built. Indeed he has spent much of his adult life trying to escape from identification with his minority background, but the fact that his regime is still widely seen in these terms suggests he has been less than successful.

As in most societies, there is a difference in Syria between theory and practice, between the way power is supposed to be exercised and the way it actually is. On the one hand, there is in place quite an elaborate array

-97-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Syria: Society, Culture, and Polity
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 172

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.