[Marxism] Tentative Jihad: Syria's Fundamentalist Opposition

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 13 08:04:33 MDT 2012

Prematurely and exaggeratedly highlighted by the regime, belatedly and 
reluctantly acknowledged by the opposition, the presence of a powerful 
Salafi strand among Syria’s rebels has become irrefutable. That is 
worrisome, but forms only part of a complex picture. To begin, not all 
Salafis are alike; the concept covers a gamut ranging from mainstream to 
extreme. Secondly, present-day Syria offers Salafis hospitable terrain – 
violence and sectarianism; disenchantment with the West, secular leaders 
and pragmatic Islamic figures; as well as access to Gulf Arab funding 
and jihadi military knowhow – but also adverse conditions, including a 
moderate Islamic tradition, pluralistic confessional make-up, and 
widespread fear of the kind of sectarian civil war that engulfed two 
neighbours. Thirdly, failure of the armed push this past summer caused a 
backlash against Salafi groups that grabbed headlines during the fighting.


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