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"Ttaba’i al-’Umran, Features of Sociability" in the Syrian State PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Saleh Darwish   
Thursday, 18 October 2018 14:01


The construction of Syrian society has always been from top to bottom under the sponsorship of a dominant state. Why this title and for what reason the author refers to the thought of Ibn Khaldoun especially highlighting the link that exists between religion and politics since the advent of Islam?

The entry into this article is the level of cruelty that characterizes the current repression and the passivity of part of the population that accompanies it. What instrument of analysis should be used to understand the state of destruction suffered by the people and the Syrian land?

A first interrogation is why this interference between the time of the apogee of the Moslem culture, Al-Nahda and the present time?

How was Ibn Khaldoun's concept of Al-Assabia (cohesive force) applied throughout these periods? The state in Syria has always been of voluntarist  nature. What characterized his overthrow in the past and possibly in the present is the "cycle" that moved from one Assabiya to another where wars erode the central state into sub-states dominated by sectarian interests and looting of fortunes by force of arms.

How to make a projection on the current situation in Syria?

How to compare the Assabiya from the Mamelukes, to that of the current rulers? And yet during the last two decades the system has made openings to the outside world and allowed the sharing of wealth with an emerging bourgeoisie? Why this opening has been overshadowed by a popular uprising in 2011? Why did the Ba'ath Party not be able to encompass the different components of society and let itself be dominated by a clan Assabiya that of the Alawites?

The inevitable fading of this state since voluntarist, must it go through a revolution?

Postulate: The state dies when it is weakened and the disease that prevails is then a "revolution". The difference between human death and the death of a state is that the latter, according to Ibn Khaldun, generates at the moment of death through the "cycle of Assabiya" of a new state.




The "misfortune" of the civic society in Syria in the past, followed by the civil one in modern Syria, was that they always found themselves facing repressive ruling authorities. Some were sometimes alien to the country (Mamelukes, Ottomans, Eng- lish and French imperialists...), and some others were local and factionalist. In such a framework, when we talk about how the contemporary Syrian society has been formed and the causes of its misfortune, it seems as if we are talking about the history of the emergence and development of the Syrian State itself as a framework, since it has al- ways played a decisive role in shaping the different segments of the society in Syria from the "top of the community pyramid" down, and not vice versa. That is to say, having an authoritarian minority skydiving and imposing its will from “above”, instead of a “substructure”, to produce a “superstructure” of elites, that obey its will to a great extent.


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