Charles G. Cogan on Syria

Syria: Three-Level Chess Game
The Huffington Post
February 8, 2012
Commentary by: Charles G. Cogan, International Security Program associate
Topic: Syria

“Upwards of 85 percent of the world’s Muslim population are Sunni, and this helps explain the firm stand of the Arab League against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Al-Assad is an Alawite, and it is this ethnic group — some 12 percent of the Syrian population — which controls the main units of the army and security forces and is thus able to dominate the general population by violence and intimidation. Other principal minorities, Christians (9 percent) and Druze (3 percent), as well as lesser minorities, also generally support the al-Assad regime, as do many of the Sunni businessmen in the two major cities of Damascus and Aleppo. But the rest of the population, 74 percent, are Sunnis, and it was the largely Sunni city of Hama that suffered more than 10,000 deaths at the hands of Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad, in the Muslim Brotherhood uprising there in 1982.”

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