Bashar al- Assad - The Useful Tyrant
After almost six years of brutal warfare, Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad still seems to be sitting firmly in the saddle. Does this mean the West views him as the lesser evil? The war in Syria is more than a conflict between a regime and its opponents. It's long been a geostrategic battle between global players.
The record of six years of war in Syria is devastating. The United Nation estimates that 500,000 people have been killed and twelve million people have been forced to flee their homes, air raids have targeted the civilian population causing endless suffering, children have not been spared.
Countless armed groups are fighting against Bashar al-Assad and his supporters, including organizations such as the so-called Islamic State. Russia's open support for the Assad regime has made the situation even more complex. Bashar al-Assad has been president of Syria since the death of his father, who ruled the country with an iron fist from 1971 to 2000. Bashar al-Assad was initially seen as a reformer. But the "Damascus Spring" proved otherwise. As the Syrian leadership's half-hearted reforms failed to keep pace with the people's growing demands for more freedom, Assad unleashed a violent campaign of repression. In the ensuing civil war, he is suspected of ordering the use of poison gas against opposition fighters and civilians. But who is Bashar al-Assad? How has his clan been able to hold on to power for so long? And which countries would benefit most were he to remain in power?