Over the past couple of years, immense and drastic change has been observed in the Arab world. Long serving leaders being ousted from their thrones and various groups of individuals in conflict and clashes over certain issues that they may have not found a common ground for mutual agreement. Tension, revolts and uprising is not a new phenomenon in most of the Arab countries. In most cases, revolts takes on the form of gender relations, labor negotiations and the most violent ones emanates from political debates. However, while discussing revolts in the Arab world it is almost impossible not to mention Syria, a country that has been facing a great deal of uprising for the past few years. The Syrian uprising that began in March 2011 is an ideal example of how a powerful regime that used to exercise full control over its populace can be threatened leading to drastic measures being taken. In this paper, I will discuss the many historical struggles that have been part of Syria, the invasions of other countries and how it reacted to this struggle.
Since the emergence of pan-Arab party in 1963, which was formed as a result of the Ba’ath coup, developed a form of socialism which was largely inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s economic planning and his desire for equitable wealth distribution. The Ba’ath seized power with its major objective being to alleviate the suffering of the commoners and consequently improve on their lives. It is for this reason that the Ba’ath gained favor with the peasants and the landless farmers. However, this good social and political climate did not last for long since the then defense minister Hafiz al-Asad was fully focused on maneuvering his way to the top by eliminating his opponents and rivals both from his party and from other parties. These intense political conflicts were happening in the mid-to-late 1960’s. Hafiz al Asad managed to cling onto power through a bloodless coup in 1970, leading to the emergence of the conservative factions that instated a new era. His state aimed at maintaining a hierarchy of authority and powers disregarding whether it has been achieved through consensus or conflict. This marked the start of the struggles of the Syrian people.
This western Asian country has an immense geopolitical significance, it is a host of different cultures, which means that there exists diversity in religions and languages spoken such as Arabic, cherkess and Aramic speaking people while the religion include Sunnite, Christians ,Shia and also Jews. With this kind of diversity, strife is always imminent. Syria has also faced conflicts with other countries, one of them is Palestine. There has been a historical conflict between the Syrians and Palestinians due to contradicting ideas of pan-Arabism and Arab Particularism as professor Ghadha Hashemi explains in her scholarly study on the clash between Syria and Palestinian Nationalisms. ‘Syria began to realize that managing the Palestine pan-Arab politics was equally important as managing the Israel dimension’ (Talhami 46) she explains in her study. The conflict between these two nations got to its peak at the Gulf War when the US government tried to force their ideas in regard to a peace settlement upon the region faced with this conflict.
As for the coalition of power and wealth, the leadership assumes that sectarianism to be the best and tested means of protecting their privileges and also as a cheap method to rule their masses. What constitutes a strong obstacle against sectarianism is the issue of the uprising itself. The Syrian revolts Is generally not about irrational fear of an unclear future caused by the political status quo, but the fear of losing their illicit privileges. Contrary to many people’s belief, the Syrian uprising is not purely a political revolt or a group of young political activists and political figures who thirst for political change. It is usually a popular revolt, which intends to overturn the predominant social order that also encompasses the political order, since the latter is known for violence and looting. The setting up of the sectarian system has led to the dismantling and ruin of the civil society which consequently translates to lack of efficient representation in talks regarding the future of this nation.
The Syrian revolt does not only involve rejection of the rule by the elite, but has been advanced to dissident conceptualization that aims to end a regime. When discussing revolts in any particular country, the media is always accorded the importance it deserves. However, the Syrian media have always faced immense criticism all along the history of the Syrian revolts and uprising. It is criticized for having resorted to despicable incitement as well as spreading a specter of sectarianism where there existed no evidence; the locals refer to this as fitna (Hinnebusch 26). The major drawbacks to most of the Syrian revolts is , unlike the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, the army and the security personnel are extremely loyal to the ruling class thus making it rather hard for revolutions to fructify. However, it seems that Syria is on the verge of history and is more determined to interfere with the status quo that has been existing in their country more than ever.
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