In this paper I will analyze the situation going on in Syria. I will look at the political situation, the history of Syria’s leaders, decisions made in Syria by its leaders, and study the current situation related to public opinion, international opinion, and the actions of the current President Bashar al-Assad.
President Bashar al-Assad is the current president of Syria. Prior to Bashar al-Assad gaining power in Syria, his father Hafez al-Assad, was the president. His father ruled Syria for over 30 years. Before his father gained power, there were attempts of many coups during the 1950s and 1960s changing leadership many times until his father successfully led a military coup in the 1970s. Hafez al-Assad was an Alawite Muslim, but because he was not the right kind of Muslim, it created many political conflicts in Syria. The Alawite Muslims were the minority, while the majority of Muslims were Sunni Muslim. Based off of this, Syrian constitution stated that the President must be a Sunni Muslim, but the leadership of Syria was an Alawite Muslim, a situation the general population did not like. It appears this public opinion was a major factor in President Bashar’s decision making.
Between 1976 and 1982, a Sunni Muslim group, called the Muslim Brotherhood, turned to revolt against Hafez and the government, with many attempts to assassinate him. Because of this threat and thinking of a way to deter rebellion, Rifaat al-Assad, brother of Hafez, ordered and killed 1,200 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in 1980. This did little to stop rebellion. So in order to halt a rebellion, the Syrian army massacred thousands of additional civilians and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. (Oomer, 2013)
Bashar al-Assad gained power in 2000. Bashar, at the time, was an ophthalmologist in the United Kingdom. He soon became president because his oldest brother died in a car accident, leaving Bashar to be the successor to his father. Psychologically, Bashar was considered a narcissist. This means a person who considers him/herself to be the center of attention. They tend not to listen to other opinions, are opinionated, and have a tendency to ignore reality. This will become important as I analyze the psychology of his actions as president.
Some symptoms that Assad could show of narcissism are difficulty with empathy, inability to make decisions, denial of remorse and gratitude, sensitivity to criticism, and low self esteem (Cherry). These traits are important as one considers the term “cognitive dissonance” in the leadership qualities of Bashar. He must have had a conflict with his career as an ophthalmologist where he took a doctor’s oath to help people and his actions as a president in killing civilians.
In 2000 and 2001 Bashar had a dream of building a great society and removing the corruption that existed when his father was president. He showed his commitment by allowing for the gatherings of groups to discuss political and social matters,...