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Syria’s Stockholm syndrome and its sectarian war

Syria’s Stockholm syndrome and its sectarian war

Syria’s Stockholm syndrome and its sectarian war

This post originally appeared in The Financial Times.

When I worked in Syria as a journalist from 2004 to 2007 I was surprised to learn how many backed the regime – including members of my extended family. And those who supported the regime (as well as those who opposed it) came from all walks of life – Sunnis and Shias, Alawites, Christians and Druze.

At first I chalked it up to a sort of Stockholm syndrome. With time, I came to understand it differently. Bashar the son was better than Hafez the father, many believed. After all, what was the alternative? They placed a high value on stability. As the conflict intensifies, I often wonder what those who once backed the regime are thinking now.

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Photo from the Associated Press

Rhonda Roumani is a contributing fellow with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.