Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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In the FT: Cornel Ban Weighs Assad against Ceausescu

December 16, 2011

In today’s Financial Times, Institute Postdoctoral Scholar Cornel Ban looks at comparisons made between popular protests against Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in the late 1980s and against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today.

“The comparison is apt but it requires some major qualifications that may explain the survival of Mr Assad’s regime,” Ban writes. Among the differences: “While Ceausescu’s personal command over the state’s repressive apparatus simply withered away in a matter of days, after nine months of bloodshed Mr. Assad’s army and police were more likely to take their orders and click their heels than to break ranks.”