The Arab Awakening and Syrian Exceptionalism

Alistair Crooke

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Cleavage in political culture between the domestic and external could not have been better illustrated than in President Bashar Assad’s March 30 televised address to the Syrian people. Its style perturbed, and then called down almost universal disdain, externally – for being both insufficient and ill-judged. In Syria, where I was, the address played rather differently, at least for many. Understanding just why reactions were so divergent points to a different logic behind the address to the one imputed from outside. In its way, the event symbolizes how Assad’s situation is indeed so very different to that of a Mubarak or a Ben Ali — which had become the unique lens through which his response was being judged – particularly in the West.

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