Syria's Political Struggle: Spring 2012

With terrorist attacks on the rise following a mid-May spate of bombings in Damascus and the May 25 massacre in Houla, the growing militarization of the Syrian uprising has dominated international discussions of the conflict. Not only is the situation beginning to resemble a sectarian struggle, but it seems that Syria is well on its way to a protracted civil war. As the violence worsens, less attention has been paid to political dynamics.

Yet the political situation in Syria has evolved, with several important developments in the last two months. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime held parliamentary elections in early May in an effort to create a narrative of democratic transition and to offer fence-sitters the belief that peaceful reform was possible. The elections, though spurious, were part of a propaganda campaign that has so far allowed Assad’s government to maintain a façade of normalcy in the face of the uprising.