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  •  The Islamist Tones of the Syrian Uprising (0+ / 0-)

    By: Karl Sharro

    Published Friday, August 3, 2012

    It’s not hard for anyone observing the Syrian uprising closely to notice its increasing “Islamization” over the past year. This development was not inevitable, despite what many sceptics insist on telling us. The Syrian regime’s lack of flexibility and violent suppression of the protests turned the uprising into a struggle for survival. In tandem, the arming and mobilization of the Shabiha militia escalated sectarian friction and undermined attempts to portray this as a struggle between the state and rogue elements. The extent of bloodshed made any compromise inconceivable without fundamental change.

    In parallel, it became obvious a few months into the uprising that the political leadership of the uprising had failed to live up to its responsibilities. The fractured opposition failed to unite around common goals and to produce a convincing political program or a coherent transitional plan. This failure to develop an authoritative political narrative cost the uprising the support of a significant portion of the Syrian people who had not been swayed by its arguments. It is ultimately this political failure that has led to the rise of a form of ‘religious’ mobilization.
    What is certain, however, is that like Egypt and Tunisia before, Islamists are set to play a significant role in shaping Syria’s political future. Their success will depend on the extent to which they manage to achieve the transition without alienating minorities and increasing the risk of the fragmentation of Syria. The outcome so far still remains highly uncertain. There are positive signs in the vibrant activist groups that have evolved over the past sixteen months, which can play an important role in shaping this transition. But there are also negative signs of increasing sectarian frictions that should not be ignored.

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