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The Role of the Military in Syrian Politics and the 2011 Uprising

In this research I examine the effect of the military on Syrian politics and the uprising of 2011. I consider the military’s will to protect the Assad regime in the context of the “army-party symbiosis” that has been composed in the historical process. I rename this symbiosis as a power bloc because of Assad’s designation of the military to be used not only against external threats but also to protect his regime against the Syrian opposition. The political and economic reforms implemented by Bashar Al-Assad did not affect this power structure, which is the source of the military’s will to suppress the uprisings of 2011. The armed organizations which emerged during the civil war, whether they are named as terror organizations or not, will be a challenging factor not only in the resolution of the Syrian crisis but also for the reorganization of the Syrian army.

The Role of the Military in Syrian Politics and the
Syrian presidential guards, waving pictures of President Hafez al-Assad and his son, heir apparent Bashar, pay their last respects to their late president in Damascus 13 June 2000. AFP PHOTO / RAMZI HAIDAR
 

The “Arab Spring” and the Rise of the Military in Middle East Politics

One of the most controversial issues in the Middle East in modern times is the relation between politics and the military of a regional country. Civil-military relations have developed in a different and more complex form in the Middle East than they have in democratic countries due to the fact that the states in the region have been ruled through authoritarian means, and have experienced their modernization processes through their militaries; the mechanisms of their political administrations have been shaped through their militaries, but they still have failed to establish a military regime.

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