Syria's Minorities During a Syria-sly Un-Civil War
Syria’s diagnosis of having a case of the “Damascus Spring” has proven to be as false as the promises of economic reform in the Middle East. So much so that the wilted name of an Arab Spring in Syria would sound pleasant to the chaotic uncivil war which has bloomed. But, here I was hoping to not write a second entry about the turmoil of Syria (http://ronartest.com/musings/article/-getting-serious-with-syria). From forced migration, death and monetary loss, it is evident that the religious and ethnic minorities of Syria still prefer to see the country under Assad’s hands over an opposition group no matter the objective of democratic rule.
Addressing the minorities of Syria that are part of the history of the Great Levant, the struggle between Arab nationalism and minorities has made clear distinctions between both gaining autonomy and the struggle to keep it. Syria is an interesting case because unlike other Arab states, as an example Egypt, the ruling elite is the minority.
For the Alawites, Kurds, Christians, Druze, and the refugee population of Palestinians and Iraqis, the fear of ethnic and religious cleansing is of the highest concern for supporting the opposition can cause bloodshed and there is a fear of the loss of religious rights under Shari’a law.
The Arab Spring is on improving socio-economic reforms, yet the religious minorities have a reason to fear persecution because of the Sunni majority’s interests in taking down the Alawite rule. Whether or not 2013 will call an end to the overly used term of an “Arab Spring”, it is dangerous to see Syria to continue on this path of civil war. One statement can be said that Syria’s religious minorities under the previous regime were never seen as a threat or often times did receive full freedoms. But the threat of a new Syria under Islamist rule would provide for a different system for both religious, ethnic and refugee minorities.
What could happen to the religious/ethnic minorities will be based on two possibilities: a post Arab Spring/post Assad situation and a post Arab Spring/pro Assad situation and further the implementation of a modern secularism or “modified” secularism as a better indicator of religious/ethnic safety versus an Islamic state.
From pan Arabism to pan Islamism, there is one agreement in which the end of Syria’s civil war will put an end to violence and limit the pressure of Arab countries and allies to respond and serve minorities in their interest to leave Syrian citizenship. What each minority shares in common is their fear of another form of religiously driven rulers that would alter their status and securities. Outweighing the effects on reforms and political movements in Syria will determine whether these minorities will be willing to give up freedoms that they were once granted. Lastly, analyzing the importance of ethnic and religious identity coincides with citizenship as a bargaining tool.
How about the United States? Well, the possible military involvement of the US would not account for the minorities and would probably reveal a large influx of these minorities starting over alongside other refugee communities around the world.