The issue of political reform in Syria straddles the line between reform of political institutions and removal from power of a particular regime and entails both domestic and external actors. In a new Carnegie Paper, Reform in Syria: Steering between the Chinese Model and Regime Change, the author explores the complexity of Syrian political reform.

The regime of Bashar al-Asad is under pressure from Syrian citizens who want a different political system and different leadership. He is also under pressure from the United States, which wants Syria to change its regional policy: stop intruding in Lebanese affairs, reduce support of Palestinian groups, and make a bigger effort to prevent infiltration of radical Islamists into Iraq. As a result, it is impossible to separate completely a domestic process of political reform from the external pressures. The two are entangled to a much greater extent than in any other country in the region except Iraq, and the analysis found in this Carnegie Paper reflects this entanglement.

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About the Author
Ellen Lust-Okar is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale University.