09/04/2014 - Syria: Traditional Society in Civil War Turmoil

Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) organized a roundtable discussion on "Syria: Traditional Society in Civil War Turmoil" which was given by Jaromír Marek, Arab affairs analyst and long-term Czech diplomat in Syria and other Arab countries.

Mr. Marek proved deep knowledge of the Middle Eastern history. So while someone might be a bit confused when our guest started with a prehistory of Syria, only later it was clear that he had been making his point: Even the ongoing bloody civil war is closely connected to the history of the region. Syrians view themselves through the history and act according to that. (“Crusaders spent some 200 years in the Middle East, which means nothing in comparison with 5000 year of Syrian civilization. Israel, existing for less than 70 years, is therefore for many Syrians also just a temporary issue”.)

The other, rather unknown aspect pointed out by Mr. Marek was tribal factor of the civil war. As he mentioned even the military, political and financial support provided to the rebels by Qatar and Saudi Arabia is partly related to the tribal proximity of those countries with Syrian population.

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