What might have Spain in common with Syria except for the first and last letters of their names?

Quite a lot and there are many more countries that belong to the same group: Portugal, Turkey, Ukraine, Thailand, South Korea, almost the entire Latin America and the list is far from being complete.

They all traversed a period of dictatorship during which a sizable portion of the population had left the poverty zone, entered the middle class and started to demand ‘political rights’. In some of those countries the political establishment of that day understood that it was in their own (personal) best interest to give up some of their political power and personal clout – and by doing so vastly increased the chances of long term stability in their respective countries – while in other instances the rulers clung jealously to power unwilling to cede even an iota of it.

And this is exactly why Chile, Portugal, Spain and South Korea are in a completely different situation than Syria while in Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine things are in full process of being sorted out, one way or another.