Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Syrian President Bashar Assad asserted that, in comparison with Egypt, "Syria is stable. Why? Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people. This is the core issue. When there is divergence…you will have this vacuum that creates disturbances."
And what has kept Assad simpatico with his subjects and fearless in the wake of Egypt's protests? Stressing his desire to make some reforms, '"Mr. Assad said he will have more time to make changes than Mr. Mubarak did, because his anti-American positions and confrontation with Israel have left him in better shape with the grassroots in his nation."'
What's more, "Mr. Assad acknowledged in the interview that the pace of political reform inside
'Institutionalization'...interesting choice of words. It could as easily mean repression as building of institutions for democracy. So let's consider most recent examinations of the growing institutionalization of liberty in Syria. And we're not even talking about Syria's support of other purveyors of freedom outside its borders such as Hezbollah and Hamas:
Human Rights Watch: Syria: Repression Grows as Europe, US voice Discussion Rights
The Guardian: Syria's Decade of Repression
Firat News Agency: Kurds in Syria Still Under Heavy Repression
The Guardian: Syria's Attack on Gay People Must End