Instead of hastening political change, the Syrian uprising has led to greater authoritarianism. At first, president Bashar al-Assad adopted various cosmetic reforms (a party law and constitutional referendum), which were designed more as a survival strategy than a genuine process of political liberalisation. In its first four years, the Syrian crisis has gone from being an anti-authoritarian popular uprising to a proxy war with the active presence of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and Turkey. Control of the state apparatus on the part of the Alawite minority has been instrumentalised by the Salafist and jihadist groups to intensify sectarianism and claim the establishment of an Islamic State.
Key words: Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood, IS
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