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Transcript of Syria
Shia 13% permeates daily life in all but the most sophisticated social circles
In matters of personal status, such as birth, marriage, and inheritance, the Christian, Jewish, and Druze minorities follow their own legal systems. All other groups, in such matters,
come under the jurisdiction of the
religious greetings such as "bismallah" (in the name of God) and "inshallah" (God-willing) common in everyday speech Shia Muslims belong to all social groups,
political parties, and live in all parts of Syria. The Ummayad Mosque is one of the most holy
pilgrimage sites for Shi’a, located in Damascus. Primarily a small minority of influence,
but became more influential with the success
of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The Syrian government has tried to dampen the influence of Syrian Shi’a Muslims. Religion in Government Secular focuses on national unity rather than ethnic unity. Islam is not the state religion Civil codes generally supercede Islamic shariah The Ba'ath Party emphasizes socialism and secular Arabism. elements of non-secularism in the government: The president is required to be Muslim
Islamic jurisprudence, is required to be the main source of legislation
Syria still operates on a duel-system of governance - sharia and civil courts
religious courts handle questions of personal and family law government controls many aspects of religious life All religions and religious orders must register with the Government. Recognized religious groups, including all government-recognized Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities, receive free utilities and are exempt from real estate taxes and personal property taxes on official vehicles. However, Jews have less political and economic freedoms. Majority of government offices and seats held by Sunnis,
but current President Bashar al-Assad is Shi’a. Current Issues Arab-Israeli conflict Relations w/United States Trafficking OvervIEW capital:Damascus population: 21,272,978 independence: April 17, 1946 government Republic president two vice presidents & prime minister 7-year term, no term limits Bashir al-Assad Ba'ath party constitution states president must be Muslim does not make Islam its state religion Farouk al-Shara, Najah al-Attar Muhammad Naji al-Utri legislature unicameral house: Majlis al-Shaab 250 elected members military
area:185,180 sq. km conscripts: 30 month service
women allowed to volunteer 5.9% GDP for defense expenditures Syrian Arab Army // Syrian Arab Navy //
Syrian Arab Air Force // Syrian Arab Air Defense Force Religion in Society Christianity
concentrated in urban areas (Damascus, Allepo)
and Al-Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria Long and important history in Syria Emigration is a serious problem Druze Live in the Jabal al-Druze region "The doctrines of this community were first propagated in Egypt.
Their mysterious beliefs are based on a variety of books including
works by Aristotle and the Psalms. They believe in reincarnation and
do not allow polygamy. Thus they are considered heretics by other
Muslims. Persecution has forced them to take refuge in southern
Syria and in the Lebanese Chouf mountains.” Judaism extremely small proportion of society Oldest religious community in Syria mass-emigration 1,250 in 1994 Government restrictions on travel were lifted only recently, and Jewish citizens allowed to emmigrate although not to Israel economy officially based on Socialism
allows for some private enterprise 1970s economic boom -rise in oil prices and agricultural exports - liberal economic policy remained dependent on foreign aid involvment in the Arab-Israeli conflict left Syria economically vulnerable 1980s economic boom collapsed due to: global fall in oil prices
falling worker remittences
lower export revenues
drop in Arab aid Syria's support of Iran in Iran-Iraq war Economic reforms and campaign against black market smugglers defense spending diverted needed resources Al-Assad dynasty Shab'a Farms 1963- Ba'ath party seized power after dissolving UAR Hafez al-Assad becomes president in 1971 authoritarian and military dominated regime replaced by son, Bashar al-Assad, in 2000 1967 War Israeli attack against Egypt and Syria much of air force destroyed
Golan Heights seized 1973 War Syria fails to regain control of Golan Heights 1981- Israel annexes Golan Heights disputed territory between Syria and Lebanon socialism in the economy state-controlled natural resources large public sector investments 1960s nationalized banking system "Arabization" brain-drain from private sector expansion of public responsibilities but limited staff the numbers GDP (ppp): $100.7 billion GDP (p/capita): $4,600 GDP growth rate: 1.8% EXPORTS: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat unemployment: 9.2% below poverty line: 11.9% economic sanctions accused of harboring terrorist activity working on restoring US confidence, but US remains wary of Syria's relationship with Russia, support of Iran, and relationship with Israel Refugees 1-1.4 million Iraqi refugees 522,100 Palestinian refugees 305,000 displaced Syrians human trafficking illicit drugs women of many nationalities forced labor or prostitution (not internationally recognized) 1991- Madrid Peace Talks continue for 5 years, stop in 1996 after round of suicide bombings in Israel 1999- US led peace talks September 2007- Israeli air-strike against Syria April 2008- Israel says return of Golan Heights a possibility following peace negotiations involved in Gulf-War coalition limited involvement in 2003 Iraq war 2004- Relations deteriorate 2006 attack on US embassy lax anti-terror enforcement Ba'ath party presence pursuit of WMDs involvement in Lebanese civil war