Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States after the Iraq War [Updated February 28, 2005] [open pdf - 256KB]
From the Summary: "For over three decades, the Asad family has controlled and ruled Syria. Although few observers believe that the Syrian political system faces an imminent rupture, Syria's precarious long-term economic outlook coupled with continued uncertainty over the future of neighboring Iraq could have a serious impact on Syrian politics. Economic pressures from the loss of oil revenues and population growth could push the question of reform to the forefront of Syrian politics. Many analysts believe that Syria's efforts to reform its economy and political system have stalled, and it remains unclear whether or not the Syrian government will be able to control the reform process indefinitely. Events in Iraq also may impact Syria's domestic stability. Some analysts believe that movement toward Iraqi Kurdish independence could embolden Syria's Kurdish population of an estimated two million to demand greater political participation in Syria. In addition, there is much concern that conflict in Iraq could radicalize homegrown Syrian Islamists, who potentially could target Syria's secular government or export radicalism to Iraq."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32727