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New forces in the Arab world - Syria


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New forces in the Arab world - Syria

  1. 1. Monther Alhamdoosh Ph.D. Candidate, La Trobe University Consultative Member, Australian Syrian Association Victoria New Forces in the Arab World Syria Presented during Muslim Leadership Program 2013, Centre of Dialogue, La Trobe University
  2. 2. MLP 2012We had a hope that Syria would be free …..
  3. 3. • From a Research Student to Politics • ASAVIC Activities • A Snapshot of Syria’s History • Syrian Revolution 2011 • The New Forces in Syria • How will Syria’s future look like? Outlines
  4. 4. • Long interest in politics but could do nothing to change the situation • No freedom of expression, no political freedom. • Lost my job in Feb 2011 • Arrived into Australia a few days before the revolution started. • Publicly opposed the Syrian regime in March 2011 • Openly criticized the Syria regime via social networks. • Interviews in TV and newspapers. • Threats from pro-Assad Syrians in Melbourne. • My extended family was hurt in Syria. • Joined the ASAVIC in June 2011. From a Research Student to Politics
  5. 5. • Demonstration rallies in Melbourne CBD. • Raised awareness among Australians • Information sessions • Public lectures • Fundraising dinners for Syria • First organization to deliver humanitarian aids to people inside Syria. • Public debates with pro-Assad people. • Highlighting the Syrian revolution in Australian media. ASAVIC Activities
  6. 6. • 1918 October • End of Ottoman empire in Damascus. • 1920 June – 1946 April • French occupation. • 1947 • Baath Party founded by Michel Aflaq and Salah-al-Din al-Bitar. • 1949 – 1955 • Adib al-Shishakhli: military coup • Shukri al-Quwatli: elected as president A Snapshot of Syria’s History
  7. 7. • 1958 – 1963 • Syria and Egypt joined the United Arab Republic (UAR). • Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser headed the new state • A Baathist cabinet was appointed • Amin al-Hafez became president. • 1966 – 1967 • Rise of Hafez Assad • Salah Jadid led an internal coup against the civilian Baath leadership. • Overthrew Amin al-Hafez • Hafez al-Assad became defence minister. • Israeli forces seized the Golan Heights • Six Day War with Egypt, Jordan and Syria A Snapshot of Syria’s History
  8. 8. • 1970 – 1978 • Hafez al-Assad overthrew president Nur al-Din al-Atasi and imprisons Salah Jadid. • Assad was elected president for a seven-year term • Syrian army intervened in the Lebanese civil war • War with Israel • 1980 – 1984 • Muslim Brotherhood member tried to assassinate Assad • Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the city of Hama. • The revolt was suppressed by the military (Rifaat) • Killed tens of thousands of civilians. A Snapshot of Syria’s History
  9. 9. • 2000 – 2011 • Assad succession – Bashar Al Assad • Detention of MPs and other pro-reform activists • Damascus was urged to withdraw its forces from Lebanon • Interior minister and Syria's former head of intelligence in Lebanon, Ghazi Kanaan, died in what officials say is suicide. • Assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri • Israeli strike on Syria, no reaction. • Supress Syrian people, prison human rights activists, fake slogans for reform, etc. A Snapshot of Syria’s History
  10. 10. • 2011 March - June • Protests in Damascus and the southern city of Deraa. • Demanded the release of political prisoners. • Security forces shot a number of people dead in Deraa. • Army tanks entered Deraa, Banyas, Homs and suburbs of Damascus. • Tried to crush anti-regime protests. • Troops besieged Jisr al-Shughour and more than 10,000 people fled to Turkey. Syrian Revolution 2011
  11. 11. • 2011 July – December • Opposition organises • Newly formed Syrian National Council has forged a common front of internal and exiled opposition activists. • Russia and China vetoed UN resolution condemning Syria. • Assad sacked the governor of the northern province of Hama • Arab League voted to suspend Syria • Army defectors targeted a military base near Damascus • Free Syrian Army • Arab observers into the country. Thousand of protesters gather in Homs to greet them. Syrian Revolution 2011
  12. 12. • 2012 January – June • The government step up the bombardment of Homs and other cities • More than 7,500 people have died • Peace plan drafted by UN envoy Kofi Annan • UN Security Council strongly condemned the government's use of heavy weaponry • France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada and Australia expelled senior Syrian diplomats in protest. • Many massacres committed by Assad’s militia in Homs and Banyas. • Assad told his reshuffled government that they face "real war" Syrian Revolution 2011
  13. 13. • 2012 July – December • FSA seized Aleppo in the north • A UN General Assembly resolution demanded that Assad resigned • UN appointed veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria • Fire in Aleppo destroyed much of the historic heritage • Ceasefire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha broke down as government continued attacks. • Several major opposition forces united as National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces • Islamist militias in Aleppo, including the Al-Nusra Front and Al-Tawhid Brigade (FSA), refused to join the Coalition Syrian Revolution 2011
  14. 14. • 2013 • The public involvement of Iranian officers and Hezbuallah militia in the conflict. • Syrian opposition seized more cities • Between 60 – 100 % in most of the cities. • Syrian warplanes bombed the northern city of Raqqa after FSA seized control • Opposition National Coalition chairman Moaz al-Khatib resigned • Government and allied Hezbollah forces recaptured the strategically- important town of Qusair • Chemical weapons were used • On the Ghouta area of Damascus in August • Killed about 1300 people Syrian Revolution 2011
  15. 15. Syrian Revolution 2011
  16. 16. The New Forces in Syria • Political Forces • Syrian Nation Council • Founded in August 2011 and still active • Burhan Ghalioun, Abdulbaset Sieda, George Sabra • National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces • Founded in November 2012 • Moaz al-Khatib, Ahmad Asi Al-Jarba • Has representatives for FSA • Formed interim government for Syria • On 25 September 2013, Islamist and Free Syrian Army commanders rejected the Syrian National Coalition • "All groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent us."
  17. 17. Syrians only Foreigners and Syrians • Military Forces • The New Forces in Syria
  18. 18. • What makes the future of post-Assad Syria even more uncertain is that the opposition is itself fragmented. • The anti-Assad militias are loyal to their commanders and localities and are not united by a shared vision of a new Syria • Ideological differences persist among militia commanders and political leaders and among the commanders themselves • Two things are apparent about Syria’s future • The end of Assad will not be the end of the war, but a segue to a new stage • Outsiders will have far less influence over its course than they imagine. How will the future Syria look like?
  19. 19. • BBC News Middle East, Syria Profile • • Rajan Menon, What Will Post-Assad Syria Look Like? • syria_b_2308240.html More information