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Interview with Bassam Haddad on Developments in Syria (Conducted by Sharam Aghamir)

[Map of protests in Syria. Image from pomed.org] [Map of protests in Syria. Image from pomed.org]

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A wave of protests have been shaking Syria since nearly the middle of March.The protests that began by calling for political reforms,escalated after the security forces opened fired on demonstrators in the southern city of Dar'a. Shahram Aghamir of Pacifaca's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa spoke with Bassam Haddad about the nature of these protests, the response of the Syrian Regime to them,and their regional implications.

This interview was conducted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011.

Interview with Bassam Haddad on Syria by Jadaliyya

1 comment for "Interview with Bassam Haddad on Developments in Syria (Conducted by Sharam Aghamir)"

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Thank you very much Bassam, there are a number of questions I'd love to ask but I'll limit myself to three which strive to get at a more nuanced understanding of sectarianism which sees it as a potential elite strategy and embedded in a whole host of other processes:

1) One powerful image from the uprising in Egypt was that of Christians and Muslims chanting together in unison, which undermined much of the regime's warnings of civil strife and chaos. Given we know how the regime how tried to position itself as protecting minorities, especially Christians, from 'extremists', is there anything similar emerging from the Syrian protests that would serve to discredit the regime on this front. I am under the impression that at least Bashar actually has cultivated a degree of popularity amongst many minorities, on the grounds of him being a bulwark against an undesirable alternative. So has sectarianism as elite strategy served the regime better thus far in Syria.

2) Your work and others' too on the networks of patronage and economic profiteering in the form of the military-mercantile complex which destroy one-dimensional sectarian readings is the basis for my next question. Has there been public outcry against the mercantile side of this equation, so that targets of discontent are as much the military and the bourgeois so connected to them?

3) Finally, what do you make of Grand Mufti Hasoun's latest performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8uiolV4zmc). Is this a significant change from that disgraceful Al-Jazeera performance, does this opportunist's (partial) change in tone change the way you perceive the stability of the regime.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Sameer wrote on April 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

If you prefer, email your comments to info@jadaliyya.com.

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