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On November 13, 1970, Syria witnessed its last of many coups following its 1946 independence from the French. Fifty years later, the country remains led by a dynasty that has outlasted not only nine American presidents, but has also managed to maintain its iron grip over Syria while surrounding regimes have successively succumbed to regional upheaval.

This panel will reflect on the Assad family’s impact on Syria and the region, its relationship with the United States, and what the future might hold for the family and the regime. 


Opening remarks

William Wechsler 
Director, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Middle East Programs 
Atlantic Council

A conversation with

Dr. Samir Al-Taqi
Nonresident Scholar 
Middle East Institute

Rahaf Aldoughli 
Lecturer in Middle East and North African Studies
Lancaster University

Steven Heydemann
Janet Wright Ketcham 1953 Chair in Middle East Studies 
Smith College

Joseph Bahout
Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs 
American University of Beirut

Moderated by

Rima Maktabi
UK Bureau Chief 
Al Arabiya News Channel

Learn more about the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs

Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.