Marvin Garbeh Davis posted 1 year ago, 1 Responses

Syria Civil War: The Underlying Causes
Marvin Garbeh Davis, Sr.
World Mediation Organization

The Syrian Civil War, which has devastated the entire country of Syria and its neighbors, is a complex conflict that involves several nations, rebel groups and terrorist organizations. The war which began in March 2011 as a non-violent protest during the Arab Spring when the President of Syria, Basher Al –Assad’s forced launched a violent crackdown against protests in the city of Dara’a. The protest escalated into full blown warfare.  
As reported in the Global Conflict Tracker (“Civil War in Syria”, 2020, p.2) more than 400,00 people have been killed in Syria since the war. The report further indicates that as of January 2019, more than 5.6 million have fled the country and over 6 million have been internally displaced. 

Causes of the War

As it is with many global conflicts, it is difficult if not impossible, to clearly define the causes of the Syrian Civil War.  It is a convoluted engagement, with numerous parties, diverging interests and underpinnings. It is very important to remember as the war is still ongoing, the main causes of the war will remain unclear and most reasons are based on viewpoint and perspective.
In making sense of the war, (Fisher, 2016) thinks of the war as four overlapping conflicts: Government Structure, The Arab Spring Movement, The Rights of Syrians and Economic Woes.
	It however remains a fact that the issues of governance are at the heart of the crisis. President Bashar al-Assad, the son of the Syria’s former president was not elected, meaning his power and wealth is a result of inheritance.  Many of his opponents argue that he has no right to rule the people of Syria because he was not elected. 
It will be difficult to understand the causes of the Syrian War without bringing into focus the Arab Spring Movement. Over the years the Arab Spring Movement has unleashed dramatic positive changes in some countries in the Middle East and left some negative impact in others.  Syrians having witnessed so much changes resulting in the movement in their region, were encouraged and inspired to seek reform in their own country using the same movement. 
	The abuse of the human rights of the Syrian people is also a contributory factor in fueling the Civil War. President Assad’s brutal reaction to the protests that raged in Syrian cities enraged protesters. Claims from his opponents that he should be removed from power because of his of his dictatorial tendencies, made the President to leave behind a trail of human rights abuses as he attacked his opponents.
	The outbreak of the violence is deeply seated in economic issues as well. The Syrian economy was not glamorous but the fact that unemployment and the inability of many Syrians to provide basic needs for their families engender a lot of animosity towards the government.
There are other causes of the violence in Syria such as the emergence of ISIS which in 2014 seized large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared that territory as its caliphate. The group had no allies and is at war with all other actors in the conflict.
	In elucidating the complexities of the war (Norman, 2015) states that the most intricate dynamics of the war had been the crisscrossing of foreign interventions, which have grown steadily since the inception of the war.  The support that Assad receives from Iran and Russia as well as the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah has been vital.  On the other hand, the rebels have been backed by the United States and oil rich Arab states like Saudi Arabia. These foreign powers have different agendas, but all pursue them by ramping up Syria’s violence, endlessly perpetuating the war.

The Root Causes of Violence
	While the explanation put forth as causes of the civil war are all tenable, the actual cause of human conflict which is so obvious but escapes us is the lack of understanding that all violence in the world is directly related to our own internal violence. In short all human violence is seated in the human mind. 
	Terrence Webster-Doyle, (Brave New Child, 1985, p.133) explains that the root causes of violence are seated in the fundamental workings of the mind. He further explains that our problem is the fragmentation, for the mind has created a world broken up into separate. He warns that the only way for us to save the human race from violence is to realize that real cooperation requires each person to understand how he or she contributes to the problem by a fragmented human being. 

The conditioning of mind has and continues to contribute to violence in the world. The way we are raised, the environment we live in, the schools, religions we belong to all shape our minds and affects how we see and interact with each other.  Understanding psychological conditioning is our greatest challenge.  The Syrian War like all wars in human history starts in the mind. Unless we empty ourselves of our conditioning we will not be able to end violence. It starts with Mindfulness, a state in which we empty ourselves, get rid of our culture, religion, our very fabric and begin to live in the moment when we interact with other people of the world. Until every breath is interconnected with mindfulness, every handshake could have a different meaning, every human who is different from us could be considered an enemy. 


Civil War in Syria (2020, January 20). Global Conflict Tracker, p.2

Fisher, M. (2010, September 18). Straightforward answers to basic questions about Syria’s war. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Norman, J. (2015, November 18). The Conversation. Retrieved from

Dear Marvin,

thank you for your report. Please consider the following points:

– Who are the terrorist groups?
– What makes them terrorist groups?
– Who calls them terrorist groups?
– Why are they called terrorist groups?
– What is the belief of their critics / enemies, and what is their own belief?
– Did the war began before the official escalation?
– Is it actually a war by definition?
– Can you find economic and political pressure like sanctions before the escalation?
– Who benefits from this conflict in short and in long terms?
– Who runs the ‘Global Conflict Tracker’ ? Is the information biased? Do you find other sources?
Please analyze your article in the manner described above, because this is what makes a good article an even better one. When you create an article, it is something the stays, and that people will use in order to create an image of you, your personality, and your professionalism. It is to be perfect without leaving questions. It is like giving birth to and raising a child – it has to be perfect from within.

BR, Daniel