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Expert briefing
Publication date: 27 January 2016

The most important segments of the non-jihadist opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have unified in the 'Riyadh opposition'. However, rival blocs that…

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DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB208094

ISSN: 2633-304X

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Emer Groarke

This paper aims to show the viability of consociational power-sharing as a conflict-resolution tool in Syria. It further argues that a subsequent movement from…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to show the viability of consociational power-sharing as a conflict-resolution tool in Syria. It further argues that a subsequent movement from consociational to centripetal power-sharing is vital to ensure sustainable peace.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical overview of power-sharing as a conflict-resolution tool provides the basis for this paper, supported by empirical evidence and qualitative research analysis for its proposed application in Syria. Perceived obstacles to a negotiated settlement are outlined, with suggestions made as to how these issues can be transformed into incentives for invested parties. Such obstacles include Bashar al-Assad remaining in power, and calls for the implementation of Shari’a law by some opposition groups.

Findings

While previously the conditions of the conflict were not conducive to peace talks, this paper finds that regional developments, including the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have re-opened the possibility of, and indeed the necessity for, political negotiations. Detailing the complexity of a conflict that goes far beyond a mere sectarian divide, the findings of this paper dispel the notion that a sectarian partition is a viable model for Syria. The paper highlights the multiple cleavages occurring simultaneously, and shows how a power-sharing model is best suited to deal with them.

Originality/value

The paper analyses the ongoing inertia of political negotiations to peacefully resolve the conflict. It offers an approach to conflict-resolution in Syria that has, thus far, not been adequately considered in academic – or political – spheres.

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International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Expert briefing
Publication date: 15 February 2016

He was denying a Syrian complaint to the UN that Turkish soldiers were among about 100 fighters allowed to cross into Syria on February 13. Turkish artillery has pounded…

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Expert briefing
Publication date: 15 December 2020

This came days after the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) agreed that Russia and Syrian government forces could establish positions near Ain Issa, as a counter…

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DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB258224

ISSN: 2633-304X

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Expert briefing
Publication date: 14 July 2015

Qatari foreign policy.

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DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB200941

ISSN: 2633-304X

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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2010

Reinoud Leenders

This article calls for closer attention to the Middle East in the wider debate on the purported rise of new modes of armed conflict following the end of the Cold War…

Abstract

This article calls for closer attention to the Middle East in the wider debate on the purported rise of new modes of armed conflict following the end of the Cold War, particularly in relation to the notion of ‘regional conflict formations’ (RCFs). In so doing, it presents and analyses three main paradoxes. First, though the contemporary Middle East had its own share of intrastate conflicts that generally grew into regional constellations, a look at the region's post-colonial history suggests that such trends are not as novel as has often been claimed. Second, the striking longevity of regionally entwined conflict in the Middle East calls into question the common and generalizing argument that it was the end of the Cold War, together with the alleged disengagement of the superpowers, that constituted the radical shifts – including the rise of RCFs – that signalled the demise of old forms of politics and conflict involving weak states. Third, Middle Eastern states, mostly authoritarian in outlook, have over recent decades become stronger despite prevailing conditions of regionalized conflict; indeed, as tentatively suggested in this article, to some extent because of those factors.

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Troubled Regions and Failing States: The Clustering and Contagion of Armed Conflicts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-102-3

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2020

Shireen Gaber

There is no doubt that the political speech of the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is of exceptional importance in understanding the developments of the war in Syria, and…

Abstract

Purpose

There is no doubt that the political speech of the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is of exceptional importance in understanding the developments of the war in Syria, and clarifies the position of all parties involved in the war, whether local, regional or international. Accordingly, and based on the dismantling of political discourse, the identification of its core, as well as its variables and major themes of this discourse, this study aims to understand the levels of complexity, paths and the fate of the war in Syria that certainly does not come free of charge, the hardest of which is the human cost whether for the victims or the displaced persons.

Design/methodology/approach

After a careful study of all the resilient factors in the literature review to categorize the primary data based on Assad’s discourses in the media, through a “qualitative research study” of his “interviews and discourses,” it is found that the Assad’s rhetoric is highly relevant to his tenacious presidency. The research reveals the themes that dominated Assad’s interview responses and speeches and his strategy of framing the revolution as a foreign insurgency against his government. In fact, Assad delegitimizes any semblance of the uprisings as a “pro-democracy movement” or “revolution,” denying the presence of a rebellion against his government.

Findings

By the analysis the study found out that Bashar Al-Assad continued to focus on certain reasons and issues that led to the crisis and the continuation of the war, such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement, considering the Syrian opposition abroad as agents of Western countries, Syria is subject to a regional and international conspiracy, terrorism is a major scourge that must be fought and that the army is essential in resolving the battles taking place there. Likewise, emphasizing the internal dialogue with all stakeholders and involved parties is the way to solve the crisis.The Syrian President’s speeches do not focus much on the accusations against his regime from the opposition or the international parties involved in the conflict.

Originality/value

Assad’s resiliency has made him a distinct leader in the region. This paper analyzes the factors contributing to Assad’s resiliency. The literature review consists of the existing theories on authoritarian persistence and Assad’s power base in particular. The literature review discusses the factors that helped Assad adopts his resiliency strategies to the conflict environment. The research focuses on how Assad used the media as a platform for displaying his own manipulative narrative of the conflict. It concludes that Assad’s use of the media as his propaganda tool legitimized his rule, making it highly relevant to his persistence.

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Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Sciences, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN:

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2019

Nura Ibold

The wave of popular unrest in the Arab world reached Syria in March 2011, and what started as peaceful demonstrations with simple demands of justice and freedom turned…

Abstract

The wave of popular unrest in the Arab world reached Syria in March 2011, and what started as peaceful demonstrations with simple demands of justice and freedom turned into a brutal armed conflict and a full-scale civil war. Over seven years of conflict resulted in the deaths of over half a million Syrians, the forced displacement of millions more, and a huge loss of the country's social and physical structures. What began as another Arab Spring movement against a dictatorial regime has turned into a proxy war that has attracted the interests of the world and regional powers. The paper discusses Syria's political history and investigates the motives for the Syrian uprising and argues that it is related to socio-economic deprivations rather than sectarianism. The work underlines the interests of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict focusing on Russia, USA, Iran, and Turkey, as well as their contribution to the future reconstruction of the country.

Over the past few years, the Syrian regime and its allies targeted many cities and destroyed opposition-held neighborhoods. The work considers if this destruction was part of an overall strategy adopted by the al-Assad regime to terrorize those who opposed it and change Syria demographically, examining the new laws issued by the government to transfer public properties into the hands of its loyal businessmen factions, as in the case of the reconstruction project in the city of Homs.

Seven years of war exhausted Syria's financial stocks, and the country (and in turn the regime) is suffering the consequences of military spending. But like any other war, destruction is also a great opportunity to generate money through reconstruction and growth. It is a “win-win situation”; the regime will use the fund designated for reviving the country to its own benefit, gaining future profits. Already invested in the conflict, involved countries will be part of the reconstruction process to secure their presence and control in Syria.

United Nations agencies like UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) are working closely with the Syrian regime and its governmental representatives. This research examines their involvement and how their ‘humanitarian mission' is being exploited to prop up the al-Assad regime.

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Open House International, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0168-2601

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Armenak Tokmajyan

The purpose of this paper is to question the effectiveness of violence, armed rebellion in this case, as a means to topple oppressors. It takes the Syrian armed rebellion…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the effectiveness of violence, armed rebellion in this case, as a means to topple oppressors. It takes the Syrian armed rebellion as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper empirically examines arguments about nonviolent actions and their effectiveness and how violent action harmed the Syrian revolution. The paper adopts the Syrian revolution as a case study.

Findings

The paper finds that the shift from nonviolent to violent action harmed the revolution. However, the Syrian case remains hypothetical because the uprising tuned violent already in late 2011. Nevertheless, based on statistical and academic observations the paper finds that the impact of the militarization has been destructive without fulfilling the uprising's goals.

Research limitations/implications

Because the Syrian conflict is a recent one, still ongoing, and there is a time lag in the publication of academic papers and books, this paper necessarily draws on newspaper articles and online sources in presenting the case study.

Originality/value

The paper looks at the developments of the Syrian conflict from a different angle than the mainstream narratives. Furthermore, it contributes to the field of nonviolence studies by investigating the new Syrian case, which has not been well-systematically researched from this perspective.

Details

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-6599

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Expert briefing
Publication date: 2 November 2017

The National Coalition (NC), another Syrian opposition grouping, also condemned the plan as an effort to circumvent “the international desire for political transition”…

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