The relationship between the regime and Syria’s population is another case in point. Syria has been an independent state since 1945. For all but eighteen years of its independent existence it has been ruled by a Ba’th regime. The drafting of the Syrian constitution in 1973 served to underline the complexity of Syria’s political realities. Domestic liberalization was reinforced by mending fences with Egypt and other Arab countries and after 1973 with the United States as well. The regime’s critics took a less academic view of the matter and denounced its conduct as mere “corruption” to the point of pushing the regime itself to launch an “anti-corruption campaign” which soon got out of hand. Rifat al-Assad is still formally one of his brother’s three vice-presidents, but except for a brief period he has been effectively in exile in Europe. The radical Islamic opposition had been exhausted and emasculated in the terrible aftermath of 1982.