Syria’s Conflict, Islamic Legitimacy, and ‘Order versus Anarchy’

The cataclysmic earthquakes that have struck Syria and Turkey this month have ignited debate about effective aid measures and, by extension, the politics of the Syrian conflict. The Syrian government has taken no small pleasure in an opportunity to ease its official diplomatic freeze in much of the world, blaming Western sanctions for the difficulty in aid and in turn bringing into question the politics of the conflict. Unfortunately, to claim that sanctions are in themselves to blame for aid difficulty ignores the fact that the vast majority of the devastation has hit areas outside government control and under the control of the Syrian opposition, which were already subjected to a crippling, Gaza-style siege by the very same government. It is a further mistake, not in theoretical but in purely factual terms, to compare Syria with other Muslim countries — such as Afghanistan, Iran, or formerly Iraq — that are under sanctions, because in everything but name the Syrian government has been the major beneficiary of the status quo. Continue reading Syria’s Conflict, Islamic Legitimacy, and ‘Order versus Anarchy’