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.
The Syrian Salafi faction known as Ahrar al-Sham has always stressed that it is not subservient to any group outside Syria, including al-Qaeda. Even so, there are connections between Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda members.
Analysts have claimed that Abu Khalid’s presence in the Ahrar al-Sham leadership shows that Ahrar al-Sham has direct links to al-Qaeda. However, little is known about the nature of Abu Khalid’s involvement with al-Qaeda, and most publicly available information seems to suggests a more nuanced relationship.
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.
There are clear signs that Syria is now progressively replacing Lebanon as the region’s geopolitical chessboard. This means that Lebanese politics will increasingly be viewed through a Syrian lens.
If the creation of a cabinet does indeed result in intensified efforts to “disassociate” Lebanon from Syria, it may grant Lebanon some well-earned breathing space—but tightening the border could also increase the pressure within Syrian borders.
The Supreme Military Council (SMC) issued a statement announcing that it had expelled its own chief of staff, Salim Idris. But confusion reigned—and soon thereafter, an SMC commander called the decision a “coup."
The rebel groups' armed offensive in southern Syria helps clarify where they think the real renegotiation of power in Syria is taking place: on the battlefield.
There is a risk that the flow of weapons and fighters from Jordan into Syria will contribute to lawlessness and insecurity in Jordan, and the spillover of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians refugees into Jordan is likely to continue.
Attempts to resolve the conflict by focusing only on its regional dimension will be doomed to fail. Any credible peace effort requires negotiations that deal with the root problem and the demand for real political transition.
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.
Despite the radicalization and despair that has set in on the opposition side, some combination of international pressure and real political opportunity could still have an influence on the insurgency’s ideological choices.
In the past three years, Russian influence in Syria has swelled dramatically and Moscow has acquired a new hand to play in regional politics.
Syria is clearly an area where Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is dangerously exposed, at a time when he is already facing growing internal pressure.
Instead of focusing on the institutions of a future Syria, the al-Qaeda aligned Nusra Front is trying to implement a more broadly based Islamic rule of law.
A civil war has erupted within global jihadism and it seems to pass the point of no return. Senior militants and clerics are now lining up to isolate and undermine the Syrian-Iraqi faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A statement released by the top leadership of al-Qaeda asserts that there is no organizational link between the group and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The alliance between Syria’s Arab nationalist and pacifist opposition and its most hardline Kurdish guerrilla movement is possibly nearing a divorce.
The Islamic Front has presented unified positions on a number of issues, but in one case the Islamic Front has had trouble reconciling its stated ideological agenda with political reality—namely, the Kurdish question.
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.