History UsefulNotes / TheArabSpring

27th Apr '17 5:10:40 PM TheDragonDemands
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** '''Syria and Yemen''' are Sunni-majority countries with small Shi’a minorities. The British propped up the Alawites (a local ethnic group which follows a Shi’a branch) as their middle-management allies. The Bassad family is Alawite, and continued to oppress the Sunni majority after the colonial period (along with the sizable eastern Christian population in the major cities). Yemen was in a similar situation, with the ethnic Houthis, a Shi’a minority.

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** '''Syria and Yemen''' are Sunni-majority countries with small Shi’a minorities. The In Syria, the British propped up the Alawites (a local ethnic group which follows a Shi’a branch) as their middle-management allies. The Bassad family is Alawite, and continued to oppress the Sunni majority after the colonial period (along with the sizable eastern Christian population in the major cities). Yemen was in a similar situation, with the ethnic Houthis, a Shi’a minority.
27th Apr '17 9:31:34 AM TheDragonDemands
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* DivideAndConquer: The New York Times Magazine put out a good special issue, over a year in the making, with interviews from most affected countries, to explain just how much this trope affected the situation. The short version is that all of the post-World War I colonial powers relied on this – in one form or another – and the post-colonial dictatorships that replaced them continued the practices, fueling generations-long sectarian tensions which have finally come to a boil. In most cases, a small minority group was privileged by the colonial powers, using them as middle-men to rule the rest of the country – who they loyally served, because otherwise they would be an oppressed minority. These sectarian differences could be religious, ethnic, tribal, and (rarely) political, and sometimes overlapping:
**'''Syria and Yemen''' are Sunni-majority countries with small Shi’a minorities. The British propped up the Alawites (a local ethnic group which follows a Shi’a branch) as their middle-management allies. The Bassad family is Alawite, and continued to oppress the Sunni majority after the colonial period (along with the sizable eastern Christian population in the major cities). Yemen was in a similar situation, with the ethnic Houthis, a Shi’a minority.
**'''Iraq''' was the opposite: a majority Shi’a Arab country (mostly in the south) with a Sunni Arab minority (mostly in the center). The Sunni minority ended up ruling the country with an iron fist under the Saddam Hussein regime, with his own Sunni followers particularly loyal to his dictatorship because again, they feared that the Shi’a majority would oppress them without his power. There’s also a large Kurdish enclave in the north: Kurds are an ethnicity, like Arab – most Kurds are also Sunni, but the Sunni Arabs oppressed them due to this ethnic difference/desire for an independent state/oil reserves. This decades-long mistreatment brought resentment from the Shi’a and Kurds, and the Sunnis to fear annihilation if they ever backed down.
**'''Turkey''' has experienced a more muted example of this, along ethnic lines: while most of the country is Sunni, there are tensions between the Turkmen-majority, and the large Kurdish enclave in the southeast of the country (wanting to make an independent Kurdistan with the neighboring Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq). The nominally democratic government grew increasingly authoritarian due to fears of a Kurdish secession.
***'''The Kurds''', concentrated along the disputed borders, became a potential fifth column to any neighboring country wanting to destabilize another. Iran also has a Kurdish minority along its western border and doesn’t want to see them gain power and military hardware, but at the same time is willing to arm them to fight against the more powerful Sunni Arab minority government ruling neighboring Iraq…even though Iran’s majority government is Shi’a (though given that the Sunni Arab government was also oppressing the Shia’ minority in the south, this was more of an enemy of my enemy situation). Each side used the Kurds when they were convenient. Of course, the western intervention against Daesh in Iraq and Syria has largely had to operate by supplying the ground forces of Kurdish militias, to build them up into a larger fighting force….even though major western ally Turkey is complaining that these same Kurdish allies are actively fighting them to secede the southeastern quarter of their country into an independent Kurdish state…
**'''Libya''' doesn’t actually have the religious or ethnic tensions of Syria and Iraq: the country is overwhelmingly Sunni Arab. Nonetheless, there were still old tensions based on tribal groups and places of origin – the country is balkanized along regional tribal lines. The colonial powers favored a few weaker tribes, who fought hard to defend them against the majority tribes, and then to support Gaddaffi (there are some Bedouins in the south, among them Gaddaffi’s group, but they’re generally seen as more of a tribal than ethnic difference).
**'''Egypt''' didn’t even have the tribal tensions that Libya has. While there are a fair number of Egyptian Christians, the British colonial rule made a fair amount of effort to turn it into a reasonably modern, democratic society, with its own local political discourse (smoothing away old tribal tensions). Even this created a minority/majority tension, however, along political lines: granting Egypt the limited freedom to make its own political parties resulted in a Red State / Blue State divide of sorts between liberal, urban, educated elites and rural, religiously conservative Islamist groups. Hosni Mubarak managed to stay in power for so many decades by, once again, playing both groups off against each other. As with all the other regions, this finally turned unsustainable.
27th Apr '17 8:57:49 AM TheDragonDemands
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* PropagandaMachine: The Islamic State was engaged in a charm offensive around Anbar and Ninevah for at least a full year before their 2014 offensive, going to great lengths to earn the regions’ support. It is telling that prior to 2014; even some of the Christians in Mosul had a good opinion of them compared to the government in Baghdad.

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* PropagandaMachine: The A major feature of ISIS which surprised a number of Western media outlets was their modern propaganda apparatus, with slickly produced viral videos to recruit foreign Muslims to come join them.
**The
Islamic State was engaged in a charm offensive around Anbar and Ninevah for at least a full year before their 2014 offensive, going to great lengths to earn the regions’ support. It is telling that prior to 2014; even some of the Christians in Mosul had a good opinion of them compared to the government in Baghdad.
2nd Apr '17 9:09:32 AM FFShinra
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2nd Apr '17 9:07:42 AM FFShinra
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* StormingTheBeaches: The Kurdish-led SDF, with the help of US special forces, made an amphibious landing across Lake Assad to pincer attack the Daesh-held Tabqa Dam that held back said lake.
2nd Apr '17 8:52:42 AM FFShinra
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** The al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria went through a similar process: It started off as Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front). Upon deciding that distancing themselves from the brand of al-Qaeda and becoming a Syria-centric organisation was better for drawing support, it re-branded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Conquest of the Sham Front). This didn't draw them the support needed and made them more visible. So they re-branded once more, merging with a number of other groups to form Hayy'at Tahrir al-Sham (Committee for the Liberation of Sham).

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** The al-Qaeda's Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria went through a similar process: It started off as Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front). Upon deciding that distancing themselves from the brand of al-Qaeda and becoming a Syria-centric organisation was better for drawing support, it re-branded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Conquest of the Sham Greater Syria Front). This didn't draw them the support needed and made them more visible. So they re-branded once more, merging with a number of other groups to form Hayy'at Tahrir al-Sham (Committee for the Liberation of Sham).Greater Syria).
24th Mar '17 3:42:25 AM Neakal
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* IHaveManyNames: The self-proclaimed caliphate based in Raqqa officially goes by the name the Islamic State. However, most refer it to the name it had prior to declaring the caliphate, which is translated from Arabic as either the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Before the war it was Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Outside of the English-speaking world however, most refer to it by the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, transliterated as either Daesh, Da'ish, or DAIISH. [[note]]This also has the effect of insulting said caliphate, as the aforementioned acronym sounds close to the Arabic words for "one who crushes something underfoot" and "one who sows discord". For this reason, the caliphate despises the acronym, and punishes its use by flogging or cutting out the speaker's tongue.[[/note]]

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* IHaveManyNames: As the conflicts dragged on, a number of groups have renamed or re-branded themselves to attract more followers or better reflect their goals.
**
The self-proclaimed caliphate based in Raqqa officially goes by the name the Islamic State. However, most refer it to the name it had prior to declaring the caliphate, which is translated from Arabic as either the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Before the war it was Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Outside of the English-speaking world however, most refer to it by the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, transliterated as either Daesh, Da'ish, or DAIISH. [[note]]This also has the effect of insulting said caliphate, as the aforementioned acronym sounds close to the Arabic words for "one who crushes something underfoot" and "one who sows discord". For this reason, the caliphate despises the acronym, and punishes its use by flogging or cutting out the speaker's tongue.[[/note]][[/note]]
** The al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria went through a similar process: It started off as Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front). Upon deciding that distancing themselves from the brand of al-Qaeda and becoming a Syria-centric organisation was better for drawing support, it re-branded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Conquest of the Sham Front). This didn't draw them the support needed and made them more visible. So they re-branded once more, merging with a number of other groups to form Hayy'at Tahrir al-Sham (Committee for the Liberation of Sham).
*** Detractors of the group are keenly aware of the re-branding effort and try to invert this trope by calling it "Nusra" regardless of actual name at the time.
4th Mar '17 5:09:14 AM James1984
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** Marie Corvin of the Sunday Times, seasoned journalist who was famous for her eyepatch (courtesy of catching RPG shrapnel to the face when she was covering the Sri Lankan Civil War), was killed in 2012 during the Siege of Homs in Syria. In 2016, her family sued the Syrian government for deliberately targetting her as a journalist.

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** Marie Corvin Colvin of the Sunday Times, seasoned journalist who was famous for her eyepatch (courtesy of catching RPG shrapnel to the face when she was covering the Sri Lankan Civil War), was killed in 2012 during the Siege of Homs in Syria. In 2016, her family sued the Syrian government for deliberately targetting her as a journalist.
13th Feb '17 9:12:29 AM FFShinra
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* MouthOfSauron: Moussa Ibrahim was Gaddafi's chief spokesman, and often briefed the international media during most of the conflict, only disappearing when Tripoli itself fell... leaving those same reporters he used to brief every day at the mercy of [[TheRemnant the loyalist guards]] at the hotel, who held them hostage for days until the Red Cross negotiated their collective release.

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* MouthOfSauron: Moussa Ibrahim was Gaddafi's chief spokesman, and often briefed the international media during most of the conflict, only disappearing when Tripoli itself fell... fell, leaving those same reporters he used to brief every day at the mercy of [[TheRemnant the loyalist guards]] at the hotel, who held them hostage for days until the Red Cross negotiated their collective release.
13th Feb '17 9:11:48 AM FFShinra
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* SitcomArchNemesis: While the actions of Russia and the United States are based on important calculations and objectives and are quite serious (and deadly) in their effect on the situation on the middle east in general and Syria in particular... the media in both countries has, with varying levels of glee, taken to depicting the Obama-Putin relationship in this manner because of the Syrian conflict.

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* SitcomArchNemesis: While the actions of Russia and the United States are based on important calculations and objectives and are quite serious (and deadly) in their effect on the situation on the middle east in general and Syria in particular... particular, the media in both countries has, with varying levels of glee, taken to depicting the Obama-Putin relationship in this manner because of the Syrian conflict.
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