The school system in Syria has failed to be a crucial incubator of social and cultural understanding—notably when it comes to Islamic education. The effects of this failure are keenly felt today as Syria suffers sectarian conflict and a surge of religious intolerance.
While the Syrian regime has seen some important success recently, it continues to be hobbled, and might eventually be undone, by a serious manpower problem.
More than thirty years after its annexation of the Golan Heights, the civil war in Syria seems to have presented Israel with a chance to draw the Druze population of the Golan Heights closer to itself.
Viewing Lebanon as a transit point for the struggle in Syria and considering its state institutions as legitimate targets may, in due course, fuel the rise of the much-feared Islamic State of Lebanon.
Many Lebanese Alawites do not seem particularly keen on being associated with their co-religionists in Syria, and they are especially wary of being linked to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Arab Democratic Party (ADP) has long been the representative of Lebanon’s tiny Alawite community. Its long-standing alliance with the Assad regime has ensured its political and paramilitary hegemony over Lebanon’s Alawites. But new Alawite voices are emerging that are more critical of the Assad regime and of the ADP.
Different areas of Qamishli are controlled by either regular regime forces or a collection of rival militias, including the Syriacs’ own militia force, the Sutoro.
Many of Qamishli’s Christians no longer see a future in the country, torn apart by war, religious strife, and economic collapse.
During the current uprising, most of Syria’s Druze have kept to the Assad government’s side, like other religious minorities.
Few other political leaders, even among the notoriously cynical Lebanese zu’ama, shift their opinions with as little apology and ceremony as Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and steward of Lebanon’s Druze community.