Part or chapter of a book
The New Struggle for Syria and the Nature of the Syrian State
Syria: From National Independence to Proxy War
53 - 70 p.
In his seminal The Struggle for Syria published in 1965, Patrick Seale dwells extensively on the alliances between internal and external actors that shaped the politics of the country from independence in the wake of World War II till the 1960s. Seale’s account depicts a situation that very much resembles the one that prevailed soon after the beginning of the current Syrian war in March 2011 when the various armed groups began to seek outside support and in turn were instrumentalised by their supporters. Once again, deep divisions within the country pushed the forces vying for its control to enter into strong cross-border alliances. The last three decades of the twentieth century and the early years of the new millennium when a supposedly strong Syria played a major role in Middle East politics today appear as no more than an interlude. While stressing a number of differences between the old and the new struggle for Syria, the contribution dwells on similarities that are grounded in structural features of the Syrian state.