Syria is the latest in a list of countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, as disenfranchised citizens in that country have gone to the streets in recent weeks, to protest President Bashar al-Assad's eleven-year reign. The protests have been met with violence; dozens have been reportedly killed by security forces. In response to the protests, the government has repeatedly suggested it may lift the country's emergency law — which allows the leadership to arrest without cause or warrant among other powers — as a concession to protesters. But many are already calling it a bluff.
Joshua Landis, is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He explains the U.S.'s interest in what's happening in Syria, Iran's closes ally.