Syria and Bilad al-Sham
in Understanding Political Islam
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Syria was the latest of the comparative investments of the author. This chapter covers both Syria before the “storm” that began in 2011, and the main stages of the aborted Syrian Spring. It addresses how, in the midst of the Syrian uprising, legalist Islamists winning at the polls in Tunisia and Egypt came to deeply transform—and not for the better—the Western imaginary concerning the Arab Spring that this same West had so briefly idealized. Further, it considers the asymmetrical internationalization of the crisis; the trap into which the West allowed itself to fall, of focusing on “ISIS and only ISIS”; and how the Syrian crisis fueled the process of religion- and sectarian-based communitarianization.

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