The Syrian Revolution As Seen By Arab Social Scientists

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 13:00
Oral Presentation
Kheder ZAKARIA, Syrian Association for the Social Sciences, Syrian Arab Republic
The paper compares and evaluates different approaches Arab researchers--Syrians in particular--adopted towards the background of the Syrian revolution and its determinant factors:

- The socio-economic approach, which explains the Syrian uprising with expansion of poverty and unemployment, caused by corruption and mismanagement. The argument here is that capital productivity declined, there were no incentives for investment, and the countryside did not receive enough attention. As a result, rural migration to cities increased. This resulted in increasing unemployment and disguised unemployment, as well as large disparities between rural and urban areas, governorates and regions, on the other.

- The religious-sectarian approach, which focuses on the supremacy of the Alawite minority, particularly their control of sensitive positions in the army and the security apparatus, giving them control over the state and society, in which a Sunni community was the majority. This situation led to the rebellion of the Sunnis, and the spread of the various Islamic propositions—both moderate and extreme, thereby turning the revolution into a sectarian conflict.

- The tyranny vs. democracy approach, which argues that the essence of the Syrian revolution lies in the people’s rejection of the Syrian regime’s tyranny, represented in highly-authoritarian structures, leaders’ personality cult, and a security apparatus in control of all aspects of social, economic, cultural, and political life. The people’s aspiration to freedom led them to struggle for a pluralistic democratic regime, built on the rule of law and equality of all Syrians, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or other affiliations.

- The approach of international conspiracy, which is adopted by the regime and its supporters. Those adopting this approach frame the uprising as a result of a global conspiracy, led by the United States and Western countries, to topple a “progressive” regime that resists “Zionist and imperialist ambitions”.