Arab Nationalist Fervor : Syria

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In the mid-twentieth century, an Arab nationalist fervor overtook Syria, leading to a series of coups which would eventually install the ostensibly socialist Ba’ath party at the head of state -- a rule that lasts tenuously to the present day. In the chaos of the aftermath of European occupation the seeds were sown for the conflict that rends Syria today as a nation struggles to define itself outside of the context of both factionalist terrorism and the autocratic al-Assad regime which has reigned since that period. When Hafez al-Assad, father of current president Bashar al-Assad, came to power in 1970 he seized the whole of the nation’s political power, placing it firmly in the hands of his family and therefore those of the military…show more content…
The initial protests that sparked the Syrian Civil War occurred in the context of the Arab Spring, a series of mass protests and uprisings that overtook the region beginning with the Tunisian uprising sparked by the self-immolation of a political dissident. The Tunisian Uprising ultimately led to the actual overthrow of the Tunisian government, but affairs were not to conclude so decisively in Syria. The Arab Spring protests writ large were inspired by Middle Easterners’ dissatisfaction with governments they viewed as overly repressive, corrupt, and non-representative, and the Assad regime, grown bloated and corrupt through forty-plus years of uninterrupted rule, certainly fit the bill. The Syrian government reacted in a predictably authoritarian fashion to protests, restricting movement and imprisoning those found guilty of supposedly seditious activities through the spring and summer of 2011, including simple anti-government graffiti (Fahim and Saad). Eventually, the military began to resort to open tactical opposition against mostly unarmed protestors, moving to militarily pacify the city of Daraa where the protests had begun in the late spring (BBC). Military dominance, though taken for granted in a nation that had been ruled
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