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Sectarianism and the Civil War in Syria

explanatory Essay
850 words
850 words
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In this paper I will seek to explore, examine and eventually explain the role of sectarianism in creating and escalating the civil war in Syria. The match that lit the Syrian Civil War was the detention

and alleged torture of a group of teenagers who wrote anti-regime graffiti on a concrete wall, this escalated into violent protests that involved the sacking of a number of local government buildings that served

as symbols of regime power and therefore as symbols of Shiite power. The government in Syria responded by sending in the fourth armoured division to crush the revolt, the fourth armoured division is an almost all Shia division and the military successor of

the infamous “Defence Companies” created and employed by the exiled Rifaat Al-Assad, the brother of the now dead former president Hafez Al-Assad, the fourth armoured division is a stark representation of the sectarian nature of not only the Syrian Civil

War but of the modern Syrian state, the fourth armoured division is the most well equipped, the best trained and the largest division in the Syrian Army, and it’s sectarian make up is not a coincidence. The division serves as a bulwark against any potential

Sunni led coup, this has always been the primary threat to the Assad family rule and it is also how the Assad family came into power in the first place, so naturally they have been especially sensitive to threats from within the military. But to understand all of

these modern events, we need to take a moment and look into the history of modern Syria, how did a majority Sunni country come to be ruled by a Shiite dynasty in the first place?. The answer to this lies in the life of the now deceased former president.

Hafez Al Assad, was born into a poor rura...

... middle of paper ...

... solution to the conflict in Syria is one that will take many years of reconciliation, the most basic and immediately available answer for this problem is education, starting with Syrian children both inside the country and out, secular academic education

is essential to moving forward, the other solution will take longer and be harder to implement but it is just as effective if not more, and that is ethnic solidarity among Syrians, the Syrian people share a common ethnic and cultural heritage that goes back not

hundreds but thousands of years, for every difference there is a million similarities, this must be stressed to Syrians both young and old, their national, cultural and ethnic identity must come before their religious identity, it is the only way to not only unite but

eventually -through years if not decades of reconciliation, repair that divided country.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that they will explore, examine and eventually explain the role of sectarianism in creating and escalating the syrian civil war.
  • Describes how the alleged torture of a group of teenagers who wrote anti-regime graffiti escalated into violent protests that involved sacking of local government buildings.
  • Explains that the government in syria responded by sending in the fourth armoured division to crush the revolt.
  • Opines that the infamous "defence companies" created and employed by the exiled rifaat al-assad, the brother of the now dead former president hafez, represent the sectarian nature of not only the syrian civil
  • Explains that the fourth armoured division is the most well-equipped, best-trained and largest division in the syrian army, and its sectarian make-up is not a coincidence.
  • Explains that the sunni-led coup has always been the primary threat to the assad family rule and how the family came into power in the first place.
  • Opines that the answer lies in the life of the now deceased former president.
  • Describes how hafez al assad, born into a poor rural shia family in the alawite heartlands of lattakia, went from high school student to an air force captain, from defence minister to prime minister and eventually president.
  • Analyzes how hafez al assad solidified the baath party's dominance in syria and created a state and security apparatus so centralized that individual unit commanders reported to him.
  • Explains that baath's ethnic nationalist viewed himself as an arab and a syrian before any sectarian identity, but he had to ensure those around him were loyal.
  • Opines that the best way to do that was to surround himself with friends and family. this had a powerful reverberation effect throughout the country, the downtrodden, economically and socially.
  • Opines that impoverished shiites of syria had come to dominate the country's military, political and economic life in under a decade, causing deep anger for many sunni syrians who felt disenfranchised and under-presented
  • Explains that the shia-alawite dominance of syria did not end or diminish over the years, it greatly expanded, which planted the seeds of revolutionary fervour among many countries sunnis long before the current conflict.
  • Explains that many analysts both western and arab pointed to the sectarian nature of the rebellion and the regime as proof that there was only one direction for the conflict to take.
  • Explains that the sectarianism in syria was amplified to a previously unseen level by the intervention of non syrian foreign forces.
  • Describes a shiite paramilitary organization based in lebanon with deep connections, both practical and spiritual to the syrian regime. soon reports began emerging of sectarian massacres with accusations thrown at both sides.
  • Explains how a tv supposedly killed by shia pro-government militiamen in al-houla led to revenge attacks and kidnappings that persisted to this day.
  • Opines that the sectarian make-up of syria and the uneven allotment of power is at the heart of the conflict today.
  • Explains that economic inequality was much worse in egypt, but these states were not ruled by a shiite president over an sunni majority, and every possible problem the average syrian had with its government was magnified by the religious identity of the president.
  • Opines that the solution to the conflict in syria is one that will take many years of reconciliation. the most basic and immediately available answer is education, starting with syrian children both inside the country and out.
  • Emphasizes that syrians' national, cultural, and ethnic identity must come before their religious identity. this is the only way to unite.
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