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From Authoritarianism to Upheaval: the Political Economy of the Syrian Uprising and Regime Persistence

Discussion Papers

No.389

February 2013

ABSTRACT

The ensuing bloodshed and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Syria, the failure of the United Nations Security Council to reach a consensus on what action to take, and the involvement of contending external actors partially reflect the complexity of the current impasse. Despite the importance of regional and international factors, however, this papers attempts to argue that the domestic dynamics of the Syrian crisis have been vitally important in determining the course of the popular uprising and the regime’s response. In this, Syria’s crisis belongs with the Arab Spring the trajectories and prospects of which have been shaped by dynamics within regimes. It will be seen that the formal and informal institutional structure of the Ba‘thist regime in Syria has been critical to its resilience and ability to stay united so far while attempting to crush a peaceful popular uprising that turned into insurgency in the face of the regime’s violent crackdown.



Keywords: political economy, regime cohesion, Syria

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