The Syrian Baath Party and Sunni Islam: Conflicts and Connivance
Thomas Pierret Middle East Brief 77, February 2014
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, religion has occupied an increasingly central role in the opposition. In this Brief, Dr. Thomas Pierret explores the issue of sectarianism in Syria by analyzing the history of the relationship between the minority Alawite regime and two parts of the majority Sunni Islamic community: the Islamist opposition movements and the ulama (the learned religious elite). Dr. Pierret argues that while economic liberalization initially enabled the co-option of the Sunni ulama, the brutality of the regime in reaction to the ongoing uprising forced the ulama to realign itself toward the opposition.