Much has changed in the Middle East since the eruption of the Syrian Conflict. A late bloomer to the Arab Spring, Syria has gone beyond the narrative of dictator vs. the people and become a major proxy war with the potential to consume the entire region. In the past two years, age old strategic alliances have collapsed while strange and questionable partnerships have been formed. One of the more interesting breakdowns involves the relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, most recently evident by Turkey exploring the option of reducing oil imports from Iran.
Posts Tagged ‘Regionalism’
Tags: Civil War, Erdogan, Periphery doctrine, Regional hegemony, Regionalism, Syria
Tags: Arab Spring, Assad, Civil War, Middle East, Politics, Regionalism, S, Shiite, Shiite Crescent, Sunni, Syria
By Frazier Fathers
This past week’s decapitating strike by Syrian opposition forces resulted in the deaths of Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha, his “deputy” Asef Shawkat (Assad’s brother-in law), Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani and Hisham Ikhtiar (Syria’s National Security Chief). The brazen bombing showed that the situation in Syria has recently deteriorated much quicker than many expected; the ability of the ever emboldened opposition to strike at the higher echelons of the Syrian regime is becoming a potential game changer. As the situation continues to spiral out of control, reports of ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods and villages to the driving out of Iraqi refuges are raising sectarian tensions.
With pundits all agreeing that it is not a matter of “if” the Assad regime will fall but rather “when,” attention needs to be paid to what the aftermath of his fall might be. Syria is a divided nation in a divided region, where the majority Sunni population has been repressed at the hands of the Alawites (Shiites). Meanwhile the Kurds of Syria much like Kurds in Iraq and Turkey has suffered years of repression that has led to various nationalistic movements within the group. Smattered between these major groups are enclaves of Druze and Christians who are positioned to be potential targets of reprisal for their years of supporting the Assad regime.
Tags: Alawite, Assad, International Relations, Lebanon, Politics, Proxy War, Regionalism, Shiite, Sunni, Syria
It is hard to believe that the violence in Syria has gone unabated for over a year. When the Arab Spring first took hold of the Maghreb and parts of the Gulf, Syria was a late arrival. Former President Hafez Al-Assad had laid down a brutal precedent by crushing the 1982 revolt in Hama that some analysts predicted against a Syrian uprising in the birth place of Arab nationalism. However, with the fall of Egyptian stalwart Hosni Mubarak, Syrians came onto the streets, not chanting for revolution but reform. Unfortunately, Hafez’ son, Bashar Al-Assad, took a page from his father’s handbook; the chants were met with bullets and country has been descending down the path of civil war since. Diplomatic efforts at every level – state, regional and international – have failed to string together periods of peace, let alone halt the violence and there is real danger that Syria’s boundaries will be unable to contain the conflict.
Tags: Arabs, International Relations, Middle East, Pan-Arabism, Politics, Regionalism
It has been well over a year since the Arab Spring began sweeping through the Middle East like a stack of dominos. While some states have found a new beginning, many are still struggling to find their identity, let alone stability. Amidst the ongoing turmoil, there has been a lack of political unity and leadership amongst the Arab states. During this commotion, the region’s non-Arab states have been strengthening their claims of regional leadership, leaving the majority Arabs to become mere spectators. If and when the dust settles on the Arab Spring, will the Arabs find themselves to be pawns in a larger regional competition; one that hasn’t seen a decent Arab contender since the first Gulf War. So, the question arises; who will lead the Arab world? Turkey? Iran? America? Or will we see an Arab leader/nation spring forth?