Conflict, Forced Migration and Property Claims

by Sandra Joireman , Jon Unruh | published June 10, 2015 - 9:27am

Amidst widespread fighting in Iraq and Syria, millions of distressed civilians have fled their homes. In Yemen as well, war has led to mass displacement as people try to escape threats to their lives and livelihoods. These instances of forced migration create overwhelming immediate problems such as the need for shelter, food and medical care. If insecurity remains a problem, then forced migration can lead to lengthy displacement of people within their own country or in a country of refuge. The longer displacement lasts, the more significant the problems that can develop with regard to land claims and property rights.

Wadi Barada: Snapshot of a Civil War

by Mohammad Raba'a | published May 13, 2015

Sa‘id has always loved swimming. When he was little, he spent summer afternoons with his friends on the banks of Syria’s Barada River. When the river level started to drop, in the mid-1990s, he went to a swimming pool newly opened in the nearby village of Basima. The pool belongs to the Abu al-Nour Foundation, an Islamic organization based in the capital of Damascus, where thousands of students come from across the world to train as imams. Within a few months of his first visit to the pool, Sa‘id had started attending the twice-weekly lectures delivered by the grand mufti of Syria and founder of Abu al-Nour, the Sufi sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro.

Some Days Before the Day After

by Omar S. Dahi
published in MER274

The conflict in Syria has entered its fifth year, with no end in sight. There is no shortage of visions, however, for what Syria should look like after the fighting is over.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Fuel Subsidy Policy and Popular Mobilization in Syria

by Zachary Cuyler | published March 16, 2015 - 1:17pm

On February 17, Syrian Minister of Oil Muhammad al-Lahham warned Parliament that the price of fuel would have to increase. This announcement came just one month after the government raised the official price of diesel by more than 50 percent to 125 Syrian pounds (70 cents) per liter, the largest single hike since the uprising of 2011 and an eightfold increase since May of that year.

Trapped in Refuge

The Syrian Crisis in Jordan Worsens

by Christiane Fröhlich , Matthew R. Stevens | published March 2, 2015

The daily lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan have always been difficult, but until the winter of 2014-2015, they were defined more by concern about making ends meet than outright panic.

The Syrian Labor Movement

by Elisabeth Longuenesse
published in MER110

‘Abdallah Hanna, al-Haraka al-‘Ummaliyya fi Suriya wa Lubnan, 1900-1945 [The Labor Movement in Syria and Lebanon, 1900-1945] (Damascus: Dar Dimashq, 1973).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The Importance of Bodyguards

by Gerard Michaud
published in MER110

Power in Syria today is based on a narrow, clannish system, more akin to what was described by Ibn Khaldoun 600 years ago than to Western “development theory” or “the non-capitalist road.” Family ties are key. In the Syrian army, a major can have more power than a general if he is, like Mouin Nasif, a relative of Rif‘at al-Asad. Muhammad Makhloud, director of the State Tobacco Monopoly, is the president’s brother-in-law. A veritable army is responsible for protecting him and his family. His house in Damascus has practically been transformed into a fortress.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Social Bases for the Hama Revolt

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER110

During the first week of February 1982, serious fighting broke out in Syria between residents of the north-central city of Hamah and the government’s armed forces. A Syrian army raid on a number of buildings that were suspected of being hideouts for local cells of the Muslim Brothers precipitated the fighting. Brother militants foiled this operation using modern small arms and grenade launchers. They then attacked a variety of government installations, including the Hama headquarters of the police and of the Baath party, and also the airfield on the edge of town. By the second day of the fighting, mosques in some sections of the city broadcast calls for a general uprising against the country’s rulers.

Salah al-Din al-Bitar's Last Interview

by Marie-Christine Aulas
published in MER110

We met in Paris, in a small office on the top floor of a building looking out on a courtyard. Salah al-Din al-Bitar answered my questions in what was to be his last recorded interview. The year before, he had founded al-Ihya’ al-‘Arabi, the publication named after the movement that preceded the Baath Party. He devoted all his energy to this new publication. His aim was to provide a forum on Arab unity, the goal to which he devoted his life. The son of a Sunni bourgeois family from Damascus, Bitar was deeply involved in the struggle for Syrian national independence. He saw this struggle as closely related to larger developments in the Arab world. Such was the ideological thrust of the Baath, which he founded with Michel ‘Aflaq.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Starvation, Submission and Survival

The Syrian War Through the Prism of Food

by Brent Eng , Jose Ciro Martinez
published in MER273

On December 23, 2012, following a week of imposed scarcity, the Syrian town of Halfaya received 100 sacks of flour from an Islamic charity. The town’s main bakery started churning out bread, an all too infrequent occurrence since violence between the Asad regime and opposition forces escalated earlier that year. Hungry citizens began to queue.