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Thread: The background to Syria, history, people and more

  1. #1
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Default The background to Syria, history, people and more

    Trying to be useful:


    22,530,746 (July 2012 est.)
    Age structure

    014 years: 35.2% (male 4,066,109/female 3,865,817)
    1564 years: 61% (male 6,985,067/female 6,753,619)
    65 years and older: 3.8% (male 390,802/female 456,336) (2011 est.)
    Median age

    21.9 years male
    21.7 years female
    22.1 years (2011 est.)

  2. #2
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    May 2008


    the final map is too big for implementing as image here

    (I cannot claim to know the slightest bit about the accuracy of any info above.)

    Comment: It appears as if there's a strong case for separatism or fully autonomous regions. In fact, this might be a way to end the mess without excessive violence against the regime-supporting Alawites (or a regime victory); occupy and split them off as was done with Kosovo.
    I've read some rumours claiming that Syrians suspect this is what Assad is trying to do; keep an independent coastal Alawite majority breakaway state as the last option if he cannot overpower the rebels.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 09-01-2013 at 03:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default More to read and ponder

    Excellent maps Fuchs, although the demographics have changed with one third of Syrians having fled.

    With some exceptions we know refugees either take a long time to return, e.g. Afghanistan or they to date have not, such as Western Sahara (Polisario), Palestine and Tibet.

    Having found the next item I think a title change is due So the thread will become 'The background to Syria, history, people and more'.

    An interesting short explanation of Syria, with masses of links and videos to watch:

  4. #4
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    May 2008

  5. #5
    Council Member
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    Nov 2011

    Default Interesting discussion on Sykes-Picot & the Middle East

    Very interesting BBC discussion on Sykes-Picot & how the British & French helped create the mess in the Middle East:

    I've always maintained that:

    1. The major challenge of the 21st Century will be the unraveling of artificial states imposed in the post World War 1 settlement by the French and British Colonial Empires.

    2. The US should not see its mission as blindly maintaining the order left behind by the French and British. It should either be imaginative or retreat into isolationism.

    3. Just like the Middle East has Sykes-Picot (which created artificial borders and artificial states), Africa has the Berlin Conference - and I'm sure the Berlin Conference will unravel this century, just like the Middle East & Sykes-Picot are unraveling.

    4. The challenge goes beyond Al Qaeda, access to oil or strategic rivalry with China. I think these are peripheral issues. States will fail irrespective of the presence of a bogeyman - and the British and French laid the foundation of many failed states.

    5. So let's hold tight for a turbulent future, national unity is fraying in both Africa & the Middle East & the UK and France are definitely to weak to impose solutions - & possibly the US too.

    So let's think ahead, let's think outside the box.

  6. #6
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Haxbach, Schnurliland


    The best 'documentations' about the backgrounds of the modern-day Syria are two recently published books:

    - A line in the Sand
    Britain, France and the Struggle that Shaped the Middle East
    by James Barr

    - The Great Syrian Revolt
    And the Rise of Arab Nationalism
    by Michael Provence

    Both are based on original, official documentation from those times. The first is using this to explain the Sykes-Picot agreement, and then map the subsequent developments in the Middle East, all of which were casued by the same. The second book is mapping the situation in Syria during the first years of French mandate.

    After reading them, I would recommend such lecture like
    - War in the Desert and
    - The Story of the Arab Legion
    by Glubb Pasha

    for understanding 'details' of problems for locals caused by Sykes-Picot agreement (surely, in the case of these books, it's foremost the 'coming into being' of Iraq and Jordan that is described; this is where the British did better than the French in Syria, even for the same, entirely wrong, reasons). Finally, after all of that, get

    - Taking Sides and
    - Living by the Sword
    by Stephen Green, for understanding how the US governments did their best to follow in the wake of the British and French...

  7. #7
    Council Member
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    Oct 2005


    I second the recommendation for Provence's book, although I wouldn't really call it 'recent', its having been published in 2005.

    I also recommend Patrick Seale's excellent two volumes on Syria:

    The Struggle for Syria: A study in Post-War Arab Politics, 1945-1958


    Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East


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