Is Assad in Denial Concerning His Job Security?

As activists in Tunisia inspired the protestors in Egypt, so too will Egyptian demonstrations motivate rebellion in Syria. The truth behind this piece of street wisdom is far from clear, with analysts saying that quite the opposite is closer to the reality.  Certainly Syrian President Assad feels confident that his people are satisfied with his leadership and foreign policy, although this hasn’t stopped Assad from shutting down the internet.

The reasons Syria and similar regimes throughout the middle east feel relatively safe is because they, as opposed to the governments of Egypt and Tunisia, have taken stridently anti-US and anti-Israel positions. Notwithstanding that poverty and societal insecurity are the real fuel igniting the violent upheavals, the fact that Tunis and Cairo are moderates when it comes to foreign policy towards the west makes them that much more vulnerable.

In the case of Syria especially, there is the added dimension of a historically oppressive regime to making revolt an even more unlikely prospect. As an extra added dimension the Syrian leadership is actually joyous at the turn of events in Egypt, and will celebrate if Mubarak is eventually ousted. Unless of course the analysts are reading the situation incorrectly, and oppression, poverty, and insecurity trumps hatred of the west, making Assad and his fellow dictators in a more precarious situation than anyone seems to suspect.