Category Archives: Identity
Abstract: The longitude of the conflict in Syria does not merely cause physical and institutional, but also social and cultural destruction. Over the course of the conflict, the religious and ethnic affiliations of Syrians have become crucial in the process of self-identification. This change significantly contributed to the fragility of the Syrian collective identity. Notions of identity and categorization on the one hand, Ibn Khaldun’s al-assabiya on the other, help explain the affiliation based groupings and the weakening of comprehensive self-identification.
Syria has long been composed of diverse ethno-religious societal fabric. Throughout the Syrian history, different ethnic, religious and tribal groups coexisted on its territories. Nevertheless, the homogeneity has not been dominating the relationships of these various groups constantly. The current Syrian crisis once again illustrated that different ethno-religious groups within the Syrian society are not – if we consider that they were – unified multicultural mosaic; instead, for the time being, they raise within-group solidarity and may become a major threat to the already shaky collective identity. (more…)
The below are excerpts from an article originally appearing in World Politics Review.
Later this month, Somalia’s eight-year political transition is scheduled to end with the declaration of a “post-transition” government. Casual observers will be forgiven for assuming such a step signals that, after 21 years of complete state collapse, a functional central government in Somalia is now in place.
The reality is that the post-transition government will be unable to project its authority beyond much of the capital, Mogadishu. Most of the country and parts of the capital itself remain under the de facto control of autonomous strongmen, self-proclaimed regional states, clan militias and the jihadi group al-Shabab. Of these, only al-Shabab has demonstrated any will and capacity to impose basic law and order in its areas of control, but the group is losing ground to multiple armed offensives and is focusing its waning energies on war-fighting, not administration. (more…)