Bashar al-Assad : Hereditary principalities and state governance of Syria


Machiavelli’s hereditary prince; Bashar al-Assad relinquished the head of state after a second round of parliamentary elections, but as before, he inherited the ‘throne’ from his father, Hafez al-Assad after 50 years of Syrian governance. The traditional regime that retained governance for more than five decades had seen major upheaval obstacles in recent years. This regime has been the basis of principalities of the state, with such its power is upheld by authoritarian rule. Such power is bestowed upon an authoritarian rule; Assad’s rule over freedom of the state was lauded by his polity, by titles bequeathed to him such as the ‘President’ and ‘commander-in-chief’ of the Syrian Armed Forces.

Hereditary principalities; in the modern context, is referred to the structures and rules of a regime. Rules and practices are upmost importance in the function of good governance, and the ability to sustain it has to come to the ruler and his subordinates.

For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend: hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him, and in the antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make for change are lost, for one change always leaves the toothing for another.

In modern Syria, under the Assad Regime, the economy was a state in ruins; two-thirds of the population live in poverty and 50% were unemployed, prior to the Syrian Civil War. Human Rights were constantly violated; secret police detained and tortured political prisoners, for fear of an uprising civil resistance against the government. The late implosion of the case pertaining two teenagers that were tortured for anti-government graffiti was the last straw of the silence the Syrian people had to endure. This paved the way for the full-on revolution that resembles similar images from ‘Arab Spring’ and the inevitable civil conflict in Syria.

Assad had lost the confidence of his people; the inability to sustain the principalities of a hereditary prince, made the mark for a rebellion of such in a disposition towards the ruler and of which he had at first gained the trust and love of his people, but bent against their goodwill, and made tooth for tooth for the atrocities he incurred.

Time was Assad’s only expense he neglected, for all the arms of state and the goodwill of his followers; he passed time in neglecting those who had gone astray from his rule.

Instances when all prudent princes ought to do, regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable.

Prudence proved to be Assad Regime’s fallacy. The instance when the unwillingness of rectification of past atrocities bowed down to the media’s exposure, the rebellion was brewing in a farce where the world’s eyes were set on the nation.

How did the blanket cover the truth for much of an eternity? In Syria, propaganda was immersive in all the channels of broadcast, radio and communication. The propaganda induces nationalism amongst the Syrian people, by the state media in the form of Syrianism. Syria is part of the Arab League, for the entity of the organisation is Arabism. The unity of the ideology was felt under-threat by the notion of Syria, promoting nationalistic propaganda instead of the former. Syrians identified themselves as one, rather than as Arabs. Pro-Assad supporters disclaimed the nationality of fellow Syrians whom were on song with the Arab ideology.

And the usual course of affairs is that, as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country, all the subject states are drawn to him, moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power.

The identity politics that play in the hand of the revolution has been first and foremost the major conjuring factor that creates the conflict. Much of the rebels’ arms and equipment were supplied by a powerful foreigner; the recent revelation that Saudi Arabia was funding weapons to the Syrian Rebels. The anti-Assad supporters drew from the hatred as though they were magnetized by the dichotomy of Syrianism and Arabism, of favouring the latter.

In a broader sense of the word, identity politics is not just trickled down to Arabism and Syrianism. The national context of Syria consists of several sectoral factions of which are made up of different ethnicities surrounding the Middle East. The major problem is the range of identity politics put onto supranational stage; the clear distinction of Sunni and Shii’te Muslims.

We have seen the arbitral decisions of the Assad Regime, but the ingenuity of past governance that managed to hold the polity in unity in more than five decades and despite the challenges of rising identity politics, were less of a sense of benignity. The failure of principalities of the hereditary prince, and the lack of political virtu, concedes the regime to a path of slow decay.


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