Kurdish inhabited area of Syria. Image from Wikimedia Commons
The Kurdish issue in Syria has a history and trajectory that are different from sectarian problems in the region. It is not a sectarian problem, as the Kurds are not a sect of Arabs or a special Islamic group. They belong to a people that are forty million strong and are distributed over a number of countries, and they are the largest national group in both the region and the world that is deprived of a political counterpart to its existence: an independent state. The aspects of the region’s Kurdish question differ from the revival of sectarian problems in Arab-Islamic society.
More than a year has passed since the start of the Syrian revolution demanding freedom, dignity and the departure of the Assad family. Over ten thousand dead, a hundred thousand injured and more than 40 thousand refugees fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordon as well as about a hundred and fifty thousand citizens who were arrested, twenty thousand of them are still in detention. All this in addition to damages to property and infrastructure and the systematic destruction of many regions.
The original article in French can be read here. An Arabic text is also available here.
Tens of reports have been published by various human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations Council for Human Rights, and Médecins Sans Frontières documenting verified cases and eye witness accounts. All these, as well as films and interviews conducted with doctors, activists, and defected soldiers ascertain that atrocities and violations are being carried out in Syria which can be classified as crimes against humanity.
The most prominent aspect of the Syrian revolution is the demonstration: groups between tens and hundreds of thousands of people go out to public spaces, trying to occupy certain areas for a while, while chanting slogans and holding banners condemning the Regime and calling for its fall. The demonstration represents the field component of the revolution that the world has known. This component has formed, and is still forming the source of Syrians’ dignity, and an evidence of their courage and merit of Freedom. It includes all positive and negative acts of protest, including strikes.
The Syrian Revolution has other components. First, there is the social component that is supporting field activity, i.e. the various social environments that embrace the revolution and provide protection and support to revolutionaries.
This component is quite varied. It sometimes includes entire areas and neighborhoods in some cases, but in other cases, it is consisted of support networks that participate in field activity, even though not as consistently as witnessed in Daraa, Damascus outskirts, Homs, Idlib, Deir Al Zour and some areas in Aleppo.
It was clear that Sheikh Nawaf Ragheb Al Basheer was released, after two months of arrest, only after he was forced to appear on Syrian state television and say what the regime wanted to hear. It is also clear that the regime is not keen on hiding this fact. What they hoped for is not to convince Syrians about the contents of the Sheikh’s talk about the regime and the president, but rather to humiliate the Sheikh as a well known opposition figure.
Previously, the regime followed the same approach with Sheikh Ahmad Sayasenah, the Imam of al-Omari mosque, who is well respected in his hometown of Dar’aa. The aim was also to disgrace the man as a symbol and distort Syrians’ perception of him. The regime has no intention to prove that it is a just and dignified regime. The aim is to humiliate its citizens who oppose the regime and strip them of all dignity.
How did despotism succeed in subjugating Syria during the Hafez Al-Assad’s era?
This article attempts to analyse the foundations of a despotic regime in order to understand the reasons underlying its success in exerting its control over a country, crippling political life, taming people, and maintaining its rule for many years. The article will take the Syrian regime between 1970 (the year of the “Correction Movement” which led Hafez Al-Assad to presidency) to 2000 (the year the president died) as a case study.
It is important to note that several aspects concerning the analysis of the father’s era and the study of the Syrian society under his rule are outdated and no longer relevant when analysing Syria during the last few years. In addition, the Syrian revolution brought into the light new events with regard to the regime’s alliances and the structure of society, which have been dealt with by a number of Syrian writers (and some of them still do), and whose documentation and analysis will require additional time.
On the origins of the “Baath” regime rule of Syria
The leading reason that explains Syrian regime’s success in taming public life, including all forms of political participation, social activities and civil conduct, is its ability to