This starvation resulted with a scared powerless (once highly-educated) social platform that would do anything to maintain its status as a well-deserving self-appointed elite that finally got their financial and social status back when Assad jr. came to power.
Next big thing on the list of reasons for the silence of Damascus and Aleppo is Neo-Nationalism (a term I invented.. don't look it up :-)
everyone who lived in Syria know that the Assad Jr regime played on the whole "resistance" sentiment by supporting Hizbullah in his fight against Israel.
Hizbullah wan back some parts of the occupied Lebanese south, Syria moved political pressure from its south border to Lebanon's south border by letting someone else do the fighting for us.. everyone's a winner.
they portrayed themselves as heroes for being an "active component in the victory against Israel" without a single bullet fired from the Golan borders.
Thus, political victory is made without the military instability.. Cute plan.
Now, middle class in Damascus (can't speak for Aleppo, but I assume it was the same), reached out to their intellectual base and decided that:
- it's cool to be patriotic and support a regime that actually stood in the face of Israel (our ideologically sworn long lasting enemy)..
- and it's cool that a young president did this, while maintaining a stable country (again, stable economy = more money = more things to buy = happy middle class) .. and of course, it's a middle class ideological orgasm to say that "we support youth"..
- and it's cool that when George (Moron!) Bush invaded iraq, we (Syria) didn't kiss his ass and support him, and still maintained stability (yep.. economy again) regardless of the political sanctions imposed by the US...
and when in need of a reminder about the loss of stability, look to the other side of the border in Iraq and see the horrors, or to Lebanon, and observe the secular mess.
now, in the process, the great middle class forgot a few facts:
- When Hariri said NO to the Syrian regime, he was assassinated, most probably by plans from Maher Assad himself
- While we said no to the 3rd Gulf war, we did say yes to the first gulf war (remember, Hafez Assad and Saddam weren't such great friends)..
- Hizbulla's support was nothing but an exchange deal made with Iran since the cold war power poles have been re-shuffled.. we need a powerful ally after all
- Syria was (reportedly) helping in passing arms to the Iraqi militias to maintain the civil war there. it played to their advantage internally and externally after all
- the stable economy was nothing but privitazing the country, with the chairman and CEO being Assad's cousin: Makhlouf.. and that people in Syria were paying more for telecom and accessories than anyone else in the world.. and public service salaries remained under $300 when a monthly cellular bill was almost $140
- When the people have spoken in 2000, 2002, 2006 asking for democracy, travel bans and random detentions happened almost everyday..
next, there is the starbucks phenomena... but that's another post