'The Arab world will be emptied of its dictators'

Is Syria the next target of anti-government protesters?

Despite President Bashara al-Assad’s talk of reforms, analysts predict that pro-democracy protests in the Arab world may soon spread to Syria. This week, a Facebook group with 8,000 followers has called for a peaceful “2011 Syrian revolution” to end the country’s “monocracy, corruption and tyranny.” “No Arab country is immune. These unprecedented opposition movements have demands. They feel aggrieved by absolute power and lack of democracy,” said Riad Qahwaji of the Institute for the Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. The revolts in Tunisia and Egypt brought about a “violent upheaval that will shake up everything, and Syria is not immune to it,” said Burhan Ghalioun, director of the Centre for Contemporary Oriental Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. Syria has been under the control of the Baath party since 1963, when it passed an emergency law banning all opposition groups. Earlier this week, Assad told the Wall Street Journal that Syria is stable and that he plans certain reforms. He also said that leaders across the region should “upgrade” in order to meet the demands of their populations.


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