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Ideological Tensions in the Ranks of Syrian Officers: the Trigger of Military Circles Transformation in the Country?

Author(s): Jana Kostrounova

Journal: Obrana a Strategie
ISSN 1214-6463

Volume: 12;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 073;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Syria | Syrian military | Free Syrian Army | Arab Spring 2011 | fitna

Despite the research by some authors on the Syrian Arab Republic and its stand in the Middle East Region, little is known about the perspective of the Syrian military, unofficially called the “elder statesman”, who rules this country. The overall image that emerges not only from the Arab media during the revolutionary year 2011 is ambivalent: lazy, corrupt, unpatriotic, apathetic soldiers with poor fighting spirits versus the Free Syrian Army newly formed in July 2011. This paper recovers some perspectives of the Syrian revolt and tries to answer, whether or whether not is the newly based military opposition in the country a real threat to the Assad regime. An analysis of historical background, Syrian veterans, relation between the official political doctrine and Islam brings new perspectives and own explanations that could even challenge some of the widely held assumptions about the Syrian military: 1) There is and won’t be any “civil war” in the Syrian Arab Republic at all; this conflict should be viewed as Islamic fitna and its roots come from the 1970’s. It is a regime strongly connected to rife corruption at the top ranks, hurting the morale of the lower, but stronger Islamic ranks; 2) Doctrinal relations between the Syrian army and official religious authorities in the Muslim world have been always tense; and 3) The Syrian army would have found the necessity of its own, inner transformation despite of the so-called “Arab Spring 2011”. This paper suggests that the character of the Syrian national revolt may be intended to reflect a deeper ideological antagonism between the Sunni and Shia Islam.
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