Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Among the Alawites

Here is a link to a post by Iraqi journalist Nir Rosen  that appeared in the London Review of Books on the future of the Alawites in Syria. During the Iraqi civil war he reported for Western agencies on the war. (From his name it is likely that he is a Jew, but he has never raised the issue in his reporting.) He tends to discount the idea of an Alawite enclave on the coast, an idea I've discussed here in the past. He does this for two reasons. First, the Alawites have in recent decades seen a pan-Arab/Syrian nationalist identity as their project and ticket to advancement. Second, the Mediterranean coast of western Syria populated by Alawite villages offers few employment opportunities and little infrastructure to maintain a modern state. So for Rosen the big question is what happens to the Alawites once the Assad regime is toppled and they lose a privileged place in Syrian society.  Do they go back to being the despised minority or are they allowed to integrate into the society and live like other Syrians? The answer to that depends upon the identity of the leaders that will emerge from the fighting.

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