Landis cited Assad and the Alawi minority in Syria, which comprises
about 10 percent of the population, Middle East Newsline reported. The analysis said Assad was expected to
retain Alawite support as well as that of the Sunni elite.
"Tunisia is a religiously homogeneous country unlike Syria," the
analysis said. "In Syria, because the military elite is dominated by the
Alawite minority, it is unlikely to split."
The Sunni majority in Syria was said to have been concerned by civil war
in neighboring Iraq and Lebanon. Landis said the fear of civil war marks the
"greatest legitimizer or bulwark of authoritarianism in Syria."
"The people have been chastened by watching the years of sectarian agony
that the people of Lebanon and Iraq have suffered due to state collapse,"
Still, Tunisia could be a model in the Arab world should it turn
democratic. Landis, however, stressed that the Arab world has failed to
produce a democratic government.
"So far, the Arab world has failed to produce a model of democratic
success," the analysis said. "If Tunisia turns into a successful model of
Democratic success, it will embolden the forces of change and opposition
parties throughout the Middle East."