Saturday, April 2, 2011

If you want to come to grips with the complexities of the Syrian situation ...

and become even more confused about the Sunnis, Alawis and Shiites sects, read this Daniel Pipes' article written in 1987. 

......Secularist policies, which call for the exclusion of Islam from public life, are bad enough; this led, for instance, to the abolition of classes about Islam in the schools. Worse was the fact that 'Alawis were the ones carrying out this policy. Many Sunnis found it intolerable when 'Alawis called Islam outdated and denigrated its practices.

A socialist order benefited 'Alawis and other poor rural peoples while hampering the Sunni merchants. The expansion of the public sector went against the capitalists and alienated the traditional urban elite. The nationalization programs of 1965 and later years destroyed the great Sunni families of Syria's cities. Their rationale was stated explicitly by an 'Alawi officer; he is reported to have explained that socialism "enables us to impoverish the townspeople and to equalize their standard of life to that of the villagers. . . . What property do we have which we could lose by nationalization? None!"........

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