Like Father, Like Son – Personalized Succession: Bashar Assad and the New Challenges to the Ba’thist State – by David Ethan Corbin

Historically, Syria has had a unique position in the Arab world. Today is no different. Though overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, Syria is run by a nominally Shi’a Islam, Alawi minority. Its population is a virtual ethnic and religious mosaic, comprised of Arabs, Alawis, Druze, Kurds and Armenians each belonging to various Muslim and Christian denominations and speaks Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian, Circassian and Aramaic. To complicate matters further, Syria’s main ally in the region is Iran—the decidedly
non‐Arab, Shi’a Persian state and, in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in Iraq, burgeoning regional hegemon. Damascus also plays host to many non‐state armed groups that pose a persistent threat along Israel’s borders.

David Ethan Corbin is a former Editor‐in‐Chief of Al Nakhlah and currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the Fletcher School.

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