An excerpt from, "The Religious Component of the Syrian Conflict: More than Perception" By Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Georgetown Journal, June 21, 2013:
Because both President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him gave special priority, power, and benefit to Syria’s small Alawite minority while excluding the Sunni majority from resources and power, the nature of the country’s problems—and thus now the war—is infused with religion. It is true that oppositionists went to the street out of political, not theological, differences, but the fact that the political imbalance was drawn along religious lines put these religious identities at the heart of the fight.An excerpt from, "Syrian President urges world Muslims to unite against terrorism" March 21, 2016:
Likewise, the current prosecution of the war—particularly among many proxies and funders—is also breaking along religious lines. Shiite-led Iran is funding Assad’s brutal campaign, and Hezbollah is fighting against the Sunni oppositionists. Egyptian President Morsi’s severing of diplomatic ties and opposition to Hezbollah’s role was done at the behest of a strong group of Sunni clerics. Likewise, Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding various Sunni opposition groups. The head of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi presence, a group adamantly fighting against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, is strongly supporting various elements of the Syrian Sunni opposition. While there are non-religious funders and backers, notably Russia and to a lesser extent the United States, one cannot overlook the strong religious interests of the others.
The fact that religion is central to the roots and prosecution of the war is not a novel social science observation. It indicates that the conflict will likely be longer than expected and the resolution more difficult, based on the scholarship about religious and non-religious civil wars provided by Duffy Toft
Those working to resolve this conflict will have to consider not only the difficult past and how to rebuild a post-war society, but also the wider implications of the involvement of internal and external groups as well as states that have a religious interest in the future of Syria. The stakes are significantly higher now. This is no longer solely a political power battle; for many, this has now taken on a higher religious meaning. As the international community continues to weigh the costs of various intervention options, it must consider not only today’s concerns, but rather the impact of a protracted, multi-stakeholder, religious-infused conflict that could have far greater and long-reaching costs: human, financial, and systemic.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called on Muslims across the world to unite and fight against terrorism posing a threat to the region and the globe.Video Title: Christopher Hitchens addressing "Assad being secular" and predicting the demise of Assad. Source: TheSasss1. Date Published: September 18, 2013. Description:
Assad made the remarks during a meeting of members of the General Secretariat of the Arab and Islamic Gathering Forum on Supporting the Resistance, in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday.
The Syrian leader said there was an urgent need for Muslims around the world to show sincere and honest efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism.
The late and great Christopher Hitchens on April 8, 2005 addressing the false notion that "Assad is a secularist" and foreseeing the fall of Assad's regime. MUST SEE and especially timely considering the events that are taking place in Syria.