Throughout the turbulent history of the Levant the 'Alawis - a secretive, resilient and ancient Muslim sect - have aroused suspicion and animosity, including accusations of religious heresy. More recently they have been tarred with the brush of political separatism and complicity in the excesses of the Assad regime, claims that have gained greater traction since the onset of the Syrian uprising and subsequent devastating civil war. The contributors to this book provide a complex and nuanced reading of Syria's 'Alawi communities -from loyalist gangs (Shabiha) to outspoken critics of the regime. Drawing upon wide-ranging research that examines the historic, political and social dynamics of the 'Alawi and the Syrian state, the current tensions are scrutinised and fresh insights offered. Among the themes addressed are religious practice, social identities, and relations to the Ba'ath party, the Syrian state and the military apparatus. The analysis also extends to Lebanon with a focus on the embattled 'Alawi community of Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli and state relations with Hizballah amid the current crisis.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
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Table of ContentsIntroduction: For God, Syria, Bashar and nothing else? Michael Kerr Part I. Alawis: Secrecy and Survival 1. The Genesis of Syria's Alawi Minority Aslam Farouk Alli 2. The Alawis in the Ottoman Period Stefan Winter 3. Community, Sect, Nation: Colonial and Social Scientific Discourses on the Alawis in Syria during the Mandate and Early Independence Periods Max Weiss Part II. Alawis and the Syrian State 4. 'Go to Damascus, my son': Alawi Demographic Shifts under Ba'ath Party Rule Fabrice Balanche 5. Syrian Alawis and the Ba'ath Party Raymond Hinnebusch 6. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood's Alawis Conundrum Raphaël Lefèvre Part III. Alawi Communities, Identities and Power 7. Alawi Diversity and Solidarity from the Coast to the Interior Leon T. Goldsmith 8. Patronage and Clientelism in Bashar's Social Market Economy Alan George 9. The Alawis of Tripoli: Identity, violence and urban geopolitics Craig Larkin and Olivia Midha Part IV. Alawis in Conflict and Contestation 10. Chasing Ghosts, the Shabiha Phenomenon Aron Lund 11. Alawis in the Syrian Opposition Carsten Wieland 12. Repression is not 'a Stupid Thing': Regime Responses to the Syrian Uprising and Insurgency Reinoud Leenders