Independent Syria

By | December 17, 2021

The deep-rooted ethnic-religious divisions and the strong economic and social imbalances present in the country weighed on political life after independence, contributing to a long phase of instability; accentuated by the sharp contrasts that divided the Syrian ruling class in the choices of international politics. After the defeat in the Arab-Israeli war (1948-49), the Syrian Republic suffered political interference from the military. In 1958 the pan- Arab faction grew to lead to Nasser’s unification with Egypt in the United Arab Republic (RAU). The RAU, however, dissolved in 1961, with a coup d’état by the Syrian army which, in 1963, brought the nationalist party Ba‛th, of socialist inspiration (Socialist Party from the Arab revival) to power.

● In 1967, after losing the Six Day War, the Syria suffered the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. In 1970 the Ba‛thist general Hāfiz al-Assad took power with a coup d’état, who established an almost personal dictatorship, supported by the leading party. The goal of recovering the Golan Heights then prompted the Syria to improve relations with Egypt and Jordan (which were aggravated in 1970-71, due to the anti-Palestinian repression in Amman) and to strengthen itself militarily, thanks to an agreement with the USSR. In 1973, the country participated in the Yom Kippur war against Israel, without however regaining the Golan; from 1976 he also interfered militarily and politically in the Lebanese civil war, establishing a sort of de facto protectorate in Lebanon that lasted until 2005. Enemy of the Iraqi regime, Assad supported Tehran in the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-88), later joining the US-led anti-Iraq military coalition during the first Gulf War (1991); however, he re-established close relations with Baghdad, in an anti-Israeli key, in 1997. For Syria 2006, please check

● On the death of Assad (2000), his son Bashar succeeded him as president. Following its ambiguous relationship with a series of groups considered terrorist and the refusal to support the wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), Syria suffered the sanctions of Washington. Given this position of international isolation, Basharhe sought the normalization of relations with Turkey (traditional regional antagonist of the Syria) and a relaunched strategic alliance with Iran. In 2005, following the assassination of former Lebanese premier R. al-Hariri, Damascus had to withdraw its troops from Lebanon under Lebanese and international popular pressure from the UN, the USA and France. To escape diplomatic encirclement, he tried on the one hand to strengthen cooperation with Iran and on the other hand to show himself in favor of stabilizing Iraq, with which diplomatic relations were re-established in November 2006; this prudent line led to the resumption of relations with the EU.

Reconfirmed as president in 2007, in 2011 Assad found himself having to face violent street protests involving various urban centers, turning into a civil war in which the forces of the regime and the armed opposition, mainly composed of the majority, faced each other Sunni. The support provided to the regime by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Iran has internationalized the conflict, prompting the intervention of powers such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Emirates and Turkey, which supported the opposition, while Iran and Iraq supported Assad. On the international level, Assad has received the help of Putin’s Russia, while since the end of 2013 the internal opposition has counted on the political support of the West (USA, France and Great Britain);In 2015, the Assad regime suffered severe defeats from both the rebels and the IS, and the danger of a definitive collapse of the regime has prompted Russia to intervene, carrying out the first air strikes in September 2015 after having retooled the military bases of Tartus and Latakia; in November, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks claimed by IS, the participants in the International Support Group for the Syria reached an agreement in Vienna to proceed with the convening of a negotiating table between the government and the Syrian opposition, and the following month the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution to define a road map on the peace process in the country. During 2016 – while the parliament renewal consultations held in April saw the victory of Assad’s Baath party,returned under Syrian control in December thanks to the action of the Iraqi Shiite militias supported by Iran, assisted by the bombings carried out by Russian planes. In April of the following year, following the massacre perpetrated through the use of chemical weapons in the village of Khan Shaikun, the United States launched a direct attack on the country’s armed forces for the first time; The US intervention provoked harsh reactions from the Kremlin and generated a strong tension on the level of global geopolitical equilibrium, and only in the following July did the United States and Russia reach an agreement for a partial ceasefire, limited to the southern area. western country. In the following months, the IS continued to lose ground: in October the Syrian democratic forces (Kurdish-Arab alliance supported by the US in an anti-IS function) recaptured the city of Raqqa, the historic stronghold of the Caliphate, and the following month the Syrian army and its allies regained full control of the cities of al- Qaim and Deir ez-Zōr, the last urban bastion of the IS in the eastern Syria in December, Russian President Putin announced the complete defeat of IS on both banks of the Euphrates.

The legislative elections held in July 2020, in a country still tormented by war and the economic crisis, recorded the predictable victory of the list made up of the Baath party and other minor groups in power for decades, which won 177 of the 250 seats in the ‘People’s Assembly. At the presidential consultations held in May 2021, Assad was predictably confirmed in office, obtaining 95.1% of the preferences.

Independent Syria