In early 2000, Syrian President Bashar al Asad had unprecedented support, and motivation, to pursue policies of liberalization, and reform. The structural realities of the Syrian regime, as well as some of Bashar al Asad’s personal interests, did not produce transparency, and it certainly did not take an effective analysis of the future of the state. The Syrian civil war answers a lot of questions that were unclear at the start of Bashar al Asad’s rule.
The Syrian regime unequivocally objected to look at significant reform. An unexpected political backlash against Bashar al Asad in early 2000 caused shock in the government and ignited a wave of arrests. They warned Bashar al Asad at the start of his presidency; not only was the regime’s security at stake, but its very existence was at stake as well.
Vocal opponents slowly emerged to protest the hardship faced under the rule of the al Asad regime. Bashar al Asad was aware of the concerns over vocal advocates and public protest, but he did not act. It is now obvious that he did not take heed to his advisers who said, dissidents would strike at the president, found in the book,Asad of Syria.
Legitimacy is important for the protection, and proper function of any political system. The regime – whether dictatorship, monarchy, democracy, fascist or communist government – is infinitely more vulnerable to domestic opposition, and external threats without legitimacy. The very fact that the issue of legitimacy remained an open issue in Syria, and that the leaders actively pursued policies to generate the idea of legitimacy, speaks to its importance for the continued survival and stability of the regime today.
Bashar al Asad was recognized as the legitimate ruler of Syria; however, this badge of legitimacy was called into question when he took power. As a result of the Syrian civil war, Bashar al Asad has lost his legitimacy to rule, not only in Syria but throughout the world today.