Editor's note: Edward P. Djerejian is the founding director of Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. He formerly was U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.
By Edward P. Djerejian - Special to CNN
The Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad approached the outset of the Arab awakening in Tunisia and Egypt in a state of politico-psychological denial.
Pronouncing that Syria was immune from the tectonic shifts in the political landscape of the Middle East because of its Pan-Arab credentials and steadfastness against Israel, al-Assad's regime had a rude awakening when the youth of Daraa in southern Syria protested openly in March 2011 for their individual rights and against the systemic corruption of the ruling elite. FULL POST