Syria’s Alawis and the Ba’ath Party

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter frames the role of the Alawis within the context of the identity challenges of state formation in Syria. It examines the formation of Alawi political identity, their involvement in and impact on the rise of the Ba’ath Party, intra-Ba’ath politics and the consolidation of the Hafiz al-Asad regime. It also looks at the impact on the Alawis of the Muslim Brotherhood Uprising of the 1980s and the post 2011 Uprising against Bashar al-Asad. While the chapter highlights the Ba’ath regime's reliance on Alawi assabiyya which cost it legitimacy among the Sunni majority; yet its Alawi core allowed it to survive repeated assaults from domestic and external opposition. Reliance on the Ba’ath regime enabled the Alawis to break out of poverty and get privileged access to power and economic opportunity. But conversely, grievances against the regime tended to taint the whole community and, insofar as the regime alienated the majority Sunni community, it put the security of all Alawis at risk

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Alawis of Syria: War, Faith and Politics in the Levant
EditorsMichael Kerr, Craig Larkin
Place of PublicationOxfiord
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages124
ISBN (Electronic)9780190618520
ISBN (Print)9780190458119
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Alawis
  • Syria
  • Baath Party
  • religious minorities
  • sectarianism
  • Middle East Politics


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