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Conflict Risk Alert: Syria

[Below is latest from the International Crisis Group (ICG) on Syria] Conflict Risk Alert: Syria Syria is at what is rapidly becoming a defining moment for its leadership.  There are only two options.  One involves an immediate and inevitably risky political initiative that might convince the Syrian people ...  Read More »

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Friday Protests in Syria (Videos)

Below is some video footage of four different protests in Syria that took place on Friday March 18, 2001.  Read More »

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Why Syria Is not Next . . . so far [With Arabic Translation]

As millions of Arabs stir their respective countries with demonstrations and slogans of change and transition, certain Arab states have been generally spared, including some oil rich countries and Syria. Syria stands out as a powerful regional player without the benefit of economic prosperity and with a domestic ...  Read More »

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Litmus Test Rowdiness in Damascus Today (Video)

[No text, no comment, just video. Yes, it is that significant . . . potentially]   Al-Hariqah, Damascus, February 17th Altercations.    Read More »

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Neoliberal Pregnancy and Zero-Sum Elitism in the Arab World (Part 4)

Implications of the New Nexus of Power This is the fourth and last installment in a series of posts on the new nexus of power in the Arab world, between the political and economic elite (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Alternatively, we can call it the new elitism, characterized by neoliberal political-economic features ...  Read More »

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Neoliberal Pregnancy and Zero-Sum Elitism in the Arab World (Part 2)

In the first post (here) I introduced the topic of the new Arab elitism, or, more accurately, the emerging nexus of power between the political and economic elite. In the next post (sorry about posting another series) I'll discuss ways to pursue research on the topic. But below I will start by debunking some ...  Read More »

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عدمية فيض المعنى عند الإسلاميين [The Nihilism of Excess Meaning Among Islamists]

صعدت فكرة العدمية في أوربا الغربية في القرن التاسع عشر كأثر مباشر للحداثة وتقدم العلوم والعلمانية. وبمجموعها أقصت هذه العمليات الأسرار والأشباح والقوى المتعالية من مفهومها للعالم، السيرورة التي سيسميها ماكس فيبر "نزع السحر عن وجه العالم". لقد برز عالم جديد غير مكفول إلهيا. بل إن "الله مات" كما قرر ...  Read More »

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 4-Final)

In the first three posts (1, 2, 3), I discussed two significant liberalization phases and the succession struggle/period. As promised, this is the last post where I discuss the most recent phase of liberalization as a detour into the structural limitations of change and the predicament of independent ...  Read More »

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 3)

My emphasis in the original post on the predicament of independent opposition stands, but I felt compelled to say more about the context of the second wave of liberalization in Syria (L 1.2), which started in 2000/2001. This is a third in a 4-part series post (I promise I’ll stop at 4). In part 2 I discussed the ...  Read More »

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 2)

In part I, here, the three waves of political liberalization in Syria were listed, but only the first was discussed. The second wave, L 1.2, is discussed below. The purpose of these narratives is ultimately to discuss the predicament of independent opposition in Syria, i.e., the opposition (to the Syrian regime) that ...  Read More »

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The Predicament of Independent Opposition (Part 1)

In Sunday's New York Times article on Syria (August 30, 2010) , “Doors Start to Open for Activists in Syria,” we hear of a mix of change and age-old obstacles. The story is short and sweet, with a mixture of sound observations, levelheaded optimism, and critique. There is nothing particularly striking about the ...  Read More »

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Anniversary of Salah al-Bitar's Assassination

Salah al-Bitar was the cofounder, along with Michel Aflaq, of the Ba`th party, later called the Arab Socialist Ba`th Party when it merged with Akram Hourani's Arab Socialist Party in 1953.  Read More »

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Syria's Economic Outlook

As the global economic crisis begins to fade, new opportunities are emerging for some of the countries in the region. For its part, Syria was able to avoid this crisis for the most part even though some of its sectors were affected due to their relations with markets in Europe and the Gulf region. The affected ...  Read More »

Syrian Population Regression

Population: ~ 17,583,863 (2017 est.)

2011:  5,800+ (killed)

2012:  60,000+ (killed) and 500,000+ (external refugees), 3+ million (internally displaced)

2013:  100,000+ (killed), 2,000,000+ (external refugees), and 8 million+ (internally displaced)

2014: 200,000+ (killed), 3.5+ million (external refugees), 7.6+ million (internally displaced)

2015: 250,000+ (killed), 4.4 million (external refugees), 6.6+ million (internally displaced)

2016: 400,000+ (killed), 4.9+ million (external refugees), 6.3+ million (internally displaced)

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Syria Map and Stats

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Population: 17,185,170 (July 2016 est.)
GDP: $24.6 billion (2014 est.); $50.28 billion purchasing power parity (2015 est.)
Unemployment: 50% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): total: 35.8% (male: 26.6%; female: 71.1% [2011 est.])
Internet Users: 5.116 million - 30%/pop. (July 2015 est.)
Exchange Rate: ~ 497.8 Syrian pounds per US dollar (2016 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: -9.9% (2015 est.)
Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (World Rank: 10) (2011 est.)
Health Expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (World Rank: 180) (2011 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 1.56% (2016 est.)
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166); 15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814); 25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406); 55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525); 65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
Literacy: 86.4% (male: 91.7%; female: 81% [2015 est.])
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 74%; other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%; Christian (various denominations) 10%
Ethnic Demographics: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

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