Mechanisms of Domination State Violence, Threat of Greater Violence, and Local Intermediaries in Pre-2011 Syria

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Armenak Tokmajyan


I argue in this paper that prior to 2011, the Syrian regime relied on a well-established conflict management mechanism that encompassed limited levels of violence, the looming threat of more substantial violence with the invocation of its violent history, and the utilization of locally rooted intermediaries to mitigate social and political conflicts. At its core, this approach was not about reconciliation or justice; rather, it traded minimal state violence for reaccepting regime’s domination. Nevertheless, it was rather effective up until 2011. This study is a qualitative research based on four cases studies, including the Qamishli and Suwayda uprisings in 2004 and 2000, respectively. The paper adopts authoritarian conflict management (ACM) put forth by David Lewis et al. (2018) as the main conceptual framework. The paper attempts to contribute to Syria and conflict studies through new empirical material and a novel analytical perspective.

Keywords: Syria, Domination, Violence, Intermediaries

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