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Syria’s Normalization Risks Continuing the Cycle of Conflict and Authoritarianism in the Middle East

MIN READJan 11, 2022 | 21:52 GMT

Syrians wave national flags and carry a large portrait of President Bashar al Assad in the streets of Damascus on May 27, 2021.

Syrians wave national flags and carry a large portrait of President Bashar al Assad in the streets of Damascus on May 27, 2021.

(LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

A growing number of Arab countries have recently begun rekindling relations with the Syrian government after a decade of civil conflict and failed attempts to oust President Bashar al Assad’s regime. As Damascus slowly emerges from isolation, other undemocratic regimes and actors in the Middle East and North Africa risk seeing al Assad’s success as proof that force is a very valid option to quell threats to their control -- and while it may spur a bloody and destructive war, it’s a war that can, with the right allies, be won. Indeed, in a region plagued with long-standing economic inequality, sectarian conflict, authoritarian regimes, deep corruption and ineffective governance, it’s only a matter of time before another state or actor uses the Syrian civil war not as a warning but as a model for when facing the next inevitable public rebellion....

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