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The Alawis of SyriaWar, Faith and Politics in the Levant$
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Michael Kerr and Craig Larkin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190458119.001.0001

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(p.1) For ‘God, Syria, Bashar and Nothing Else’?

The Alawis of Syria

Michael Kerr

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the principal themes addressed in detail and in depth by the contributors to this volume, highlighting the formative points in the Alawi community's contemporary experience in Syria, and analysing some of the challenges the Asad regime faced in its struggle to maintain power during 2011-14. Leading Syria experts present new perspectives on contemporary Alawi history, politics and sociology, analysing the Syrian state system, its political economy and governing elites, and the Alawi community's differing responses to the civil war which, to a large extent, have been overshadowed by the regime's focus on harnessing this community's fate to its own survival. Placing the contemporary Alawi experience in its historical context this volume offers readings of its journey from rural obscurity in late Ottoman times, political autonomy under the French Mandate system, migration and socio-economic development in independent Syria, the assumption of political supremacy under the leadership of former President Hafez al-Asad and his efforts to consolidate a secular Arab nationalist state, the unravelling of this state in the context of the recent Arab uprisings, and President Bashar al-Asad's approach to the early years of Syria's civil war.

Keywords:   Hafez al-Asad, Bashar al-Asad, Ba’ath Party, Syrian civil war, ISIS, Alawi identity, civil war, sectarianism, Syria

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