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Kheder Khaddour


Eastern Approaches

Why local tribal calculations will determine what happens outside Syria’s heartland. With much of the world’s attention on western Syria, especially the fighting in Aleppo, there has been less interest in eastern Syria, much of whose population is of Arab tribal background.   There is an increasing view that the Syrian regime and Russia feel that the conflict in Syria can be won militarily. Their focus for now is on the major western population centers ...

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Asad’s Officer Ghetto: Why the Syrian Army Remains Loyal

[Image from]

The Syrian army’s officer corps has remained intact despite the immense pressure of nearly four years of civil and military conflict, a fact that has prevented the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad’s regime. The military housing system is a crucial aspect of this cohesion: it reveals the world Syrian officers inhabit, their relations with the regime and wider Syrian society, and the reasons why so few have defected so far.  While there have been defections in the ...

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Tartus in the Present Crisis: A Mirror of the Syrian Regime

[A small boat dock in Tartus. Image by Taras Kalapun via Flickr]

Whether in the Syrian or international media, Tartus is often presented as an island of calm in the ongoing Syrian crisis. The typical response of a Tartus resident to a non-resident interlocutor inquiring about the local situation is “Hon ma fi shi,” which translates from the Arabic as “There is nothing going on here.” Syrian official media in particular likes to emphasize that Tartus’s inhabitants are safe, free, and living without problems.[1] Tartus has always been a ...

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Kheder Khaddour


Kheder Khaddour is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. His research focuses on issues of identity and society in Syria.