Legitimacy and Hafez al-Asad
Huber, Mark M.
Robinson, Glenn E.
Magnus, Ralph H.
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It has, been taken for granted that Hafez al-Asad relies exclusively upon an iron fist to perpetuate the survival of his regime. Close scrutiny of Asad's presidency, however, betrays the inadequacy of this explanation. In fact, Syria's conflict with Israel is the primary legitimizing agent for Asad's minority-Alawi regime, and it is because of this conflict that Asad's regime has endured. Consequently, the absence of a militant confrontation with Israel poses risks which the present Syrian leadership has been unwilling to assume. Furthermore, this condition acts as a restraint upon certain types of foreign policy activities and initiatives which Asad might otherwise elect to pursue. The reality of Israel's legitimizing function has specific relevance to U.S. foreign policy vis-a-vis both Syria and Israel, particularly regarding the peace process.
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