Daniel Neep

Daniel Neep

Sabbatical Fellow at the Crown Center and an Assistant Professor in Arab Politics in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


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Why Hasn't the Asad Regime Collapsed? Lessons Learned from Syria's History of Tyranny


Daniel Neep
Middle East Brief 128, June 2019


After the Syrian uprising began in 2011, many U.S. government officials and foreign policy analysts predicted that the regime of Bashar al-Asad would eventually collapse. They saw Syria’s minority-led government as inherently fragile and pointed to the country’s long history of political instability. Eight years later, however, the Asad regime survives, albeit transformed, and has regained territorial control of much of the country. In this Brief, Daniel Neep argues that these analyses misunderstood the nature of the regime that Bashar and his father, Hafiz, had built since 1970. The Asads learned valuable lessons from earlier Syrian dictators who were overthrown and, by seeking to avoid their mistakes, they constructed a regime that was more networked, more dispersed, and more sprawling than experts and policymakers realized. To understand the continued resiliency of the Syrian regime, Neep argues we need to look, as the Asads did, at the country’s overlooked history of tyrannies.

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