Hafez Assad 1930-2000: Heir Apparent: The Doctor Will Lead You Now

With Hafez Assad's death, the spotlight turns to his son Bashar, 34, a mild-mannered ophthalmologist and perhaps the most unlikely political heir among the new generation of Arab leaders who have started assuming power in the Middle East. Indeed, Bashar's older brother Basil, a daring, charismatic figure, had been favored to follow in their father's footsteps until he was killed in a traffic accident in 1994.

By all accounts, Dr. Bashar, as many Syrians call him, never wanted to be President. Educated in Syria and England, Assad's second son is an intellectual by temperament--rather like his brooding father--and not the best...

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