International Relations - Syrian Conflict

Topics: Syria, Bashar al-Assad, United States Pages: 3 (1123 words) Published: March 14, 2014
On March 15th, 2011 more than a dozen teenage boys were arrested for vandalism. They had sprayed graffiti on the wall of a school in the city of Dara’a with a challenge to President Bashar al-Assad. The government responded by arresting and torturing them for weeks. This prompted the teenagers’ relatives, neighbors and hundreds of others in the city to gather for protests demanding the release of the boys. The security forces opened fire on the crowds, probably hoping that this would head off an escalation. They were wrong, and this is the spark that ignited the conflict in Syria. The government of Syria has been in the hands of the Alawite minority for a long time, and they only make up 12% of Syrian, as opposed to the Sunni-Muslim majority which makes up 75% of the population. Since the Alawites’ control the government, their policies have leaned towards benefitting the Alawite minority. This is similar to what is going on in the United States, as the policies seem to benefit the wealthy, rather than the lower classes which make up the majority. The government is currently controlled by the Baa’th Party, which is basically an interest group that represents the Alawites. The Baa’th government is set up in a way that their dominance will not be challenged through democratic means in the foreseeable future. This is due to Baa’th being the only government party, as all political parties other than them have been banned. This leaves Syria as a one-party state without free elections. The people have no choice but to protest since elections will not get the job done, although there is little they can do because of the overwhelming presence of the Syrian military. Since the demonstrations began in March, the Syrian government restricted independent news coverage, barring foreign free press outlets and arresting reporters who try to cover protests. Some journalists had been reported missing, detained, tortured in custody, or killed on duty. Due to this,...
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