Briefing Paper: Syrian Politics
• The head of state is Bashar al Assad and he has been in power since June 10, 2000.
• The government of Syria is a Socialist Repubilc.
• In the Middle East, Syria’s main ally is Iran, but has also reestablished good relations with Egypt since 1989 and supports Iraq, and in recent years, Lebanon.
• Syria’s main allies in the world are Turkey and China, but also has positive relations with Pakistan, Japan, and Argentina.
• Some of the many international organizations that Syria is apart of include the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Labor Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the World Federation of Trade Unions, and
the World Health Organization
• The major political issues that Syria is dealing with at this time include increasing influence to its Arab neighbors, ensuring regime survival, and reclamation of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
• The political parties of Syria include Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'ath) Party, Socialist Unionist Democratic Party, Syrian Arab Socialist Union or ASU, Syrian Communist Party, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and the Unionist Socialist Party.
-The Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba’ath) Party has a monopoly on political power. Its motto is “Unity, Liberty, Socialism.” They advocate
Arab unity, freedom from non-Arab influence, and Arab socialism, not European socialism, which combines socialism and Pan-Arabism.
• The suffrage age for Syria is 18 and Syrian citizens, men or women, can vote at this age.
• The Syrian armed forces are comprised of 400,000 troops upon mobilization.
• Syria has not participated in any war in the last ten years, but has experienced some border conflicts with Israel.
• Syria gained its independence from France in 1946.
• The Syrian constitution was adopted in 1973 and since then has only undergone minor changes.
• Syria has conflict with Israel.
• The Syrian constitution offers freedom of religion, but the nation itself is secular.
• Syria’s press is controlled by the government and is very restrictive. In 2008, it “ranked 159th out of 173 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index” (Kurdistan Commentary).
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