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Original Articles Home > Acta Via Serica > Archives > Original Articles
Title Political Islam and the War in Syria
Author Federico Manfredi Firmian
Volume Vol. 7 No. 1
Pages pp. 105~130 (all 26 pages)
Publication Date June, 2022
Keyword Syria, Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Turkey
Abstract This paper argues that the war in Syria is partly the result of a global Islamist wave that contributed to fuelling conflict across large regions of Asia and Africa. Of course, the war that has consumed Syria since 2011 most certainly has multiple interrelated causes and driving forces, and any attempt to isolate one or even two or three runs the risk of advancing an overly simplistic interpretation of history. This essay, therefore, does not aim to offer an appraisal of the multiple variables that contributed to the war in Syria. Instead, it zeroes in on how political Islam came to impact Syria and its people. In doing so, it demonstrates how competing varieties of political Islam represented leading causes of conflict. Indeed, different Islamist movements contributed to the outbreak of the war in 2011, fuelled the conflict for years on end and to this day represent major obstacles to the achievement of sustainable peace. Four broad Islamist currents are especially relevant to the case of Syria: the Muslim Brotherhood; the Shia revivalist movement at the nexus of the alliance between Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria; Salafi jihadism and its volatile and fractious underworld of competing armed groups, from Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State; and Recep Tayyip Erdogan's market-friendly Islamism, which induced Turkey to intervene in Syria's civil war.