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Syria as a ‘Deviant State’
Syria, a country that many thoughts was stable and secure under the Asad regime, has been toppled by a raging civil war in the last decade. This civil conflict, which has been marred by acts of violence against humanity and civil rights, has resulted in a vast migration of Syrians. Syria today is defined by its ethnic and religious diversity (Phillips 2019). Having such a diverse population, with even minor variances, contributes not just to its rich culture but also its violent undertone. Syria's culture has been characterized by several power shifts since its inception. A change in power and conflict happens when the group or person in command shows weakness or when more than one group finds a common reason to go up against the authority (Phillips 2019).
A general framework of Syria as a ‘deviant state’:
In the International System, sovereign nations are responsible for the welfare and security of their inhabitants (Hinnebusch 2018). As a result, states that do not meet these baseline norms are labelled as weak, and in extreme conditions, the states with worse conditions are often regarded as failed or deviant. Based on recent studies, the complications and challenges faced by Syria are categorized as follows:
Refugees and IDPs
For the past nine years, Syria has faced one of the world's most complex humanitarian crises. The refugee and displaced individuals situation is a complete catastrophe for humanity in the twenty-first century. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 4.8 million Syrians were forced to flee their country by 2016, with an additional 6.5 million internally displaced. Syria had the highest number of refugees fleeing the country in 2018. Around 6.65 million refugees departed the country that year (Cordesman 2018). Syria's position, like that of the other nations impacted by the refugee crisis, is a humanitarian disaster that will likely remain one of the most pressing local, regional, and worldwide challenges for the next decade. Internal security, a lack of social and health foundations, a loss of hope for the future, and the downfall of the economic structure are the main reasons why these individuals are terrified to return home (Cordesman 2018).
Syria is a country troubled by ethnic and religious conflicts, which had intensified since 2011, when the domestic crisis began and, in particular, with the establishment of ISIL in 2013. Another aspect of Syria's dire social predicament is that the country is engulfed in a major ethnic-religious conflict catastrophe (Jongerden 2019). According to Syrian Human Rights Watch, around 511 thousand people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began seven years ago. This bloody conflict has developed into a butcher for civilians, military personnel, and paramilitary groups. This danger has intensified Syria's ethnic-religious dilemma and contributed to the country's governmental collapse (Jongerden 2019).
Demographic pressures and environmental challenges are two additional important societal factors. Both have a direct influence on each other and have become a catastrophe in recent decades as a result of climate change (Betz 2019). The environment is more imperilled than ever before due to population growth, resource depletion, wealth disparities, rising human requirements, and scientific and technological advancements. According to research on population increase and environmental concerns in Syria, severe droughts began in the mid-2000s due to a shortage of natural water and a drop in precipitation. Syria's population increase has added to the need for natural resources in recent years. It fueled civil unrest, worsening pre-existing political instability, and the Syrian State's precarious position has exacerbated the environmental disaster (Betz 2019).
Uneven economic development
Uneven economic growth in a country entails disparities in economic development across different segments, groups, factions, and regions, according to the Fund for Peace. Syria's economy has collapsed as a result of the civil conflict, and the war-torn regions are experiencing the worst economic conditions (Akgündüz et al., 2018). Syria's imbalanced economic development is not the result of the country's post-2011 civil war turmoil but rather of rent-seeking, which has enriched those associated with the country's political structure while leaving others powerless. Thus, civil conflict began, turning Syria into a total economic failure during the previous decade (Akgündüz et al., 2018).
Extreme poverty and economic decline indicate that nations are unable to address the needs of individuals that are unable to meet their own (Hovden et al., 2018). Economic scarcity, government debt, joblessness, and inflation can all be signs of a state's economic crisis. Year after year, Syria's economic position has deteriorated. Syria's economy has shrunk by 70% as a result of the conflict. The principal reasons for such disintegration have been severe international sanctions, as well as the loss of infrastructures during the conflict (Hovden et al., 2018).
The Corruption Perception Index, which Transparency International publishes every year, is one of the finest tools to analyze the State of corruption in Syria. This index is a metric that compares a country's public sector corruption to that of other countries. Syria is the 178th least corrupt country out of 180 (Ash et al., 2020). During the decades of civil war, corruption throughout this country has worsened at an alarming rate. Syria's position in this index has deteriorated as a result of civil conflict, nation split, and external interference, according to this indicator. Before the conflict, the Syrian government experienced political, administrative, and financial corruption as a result of central government subsidies to particular organizations and people, making Syria one of the world's most corrupt governments (Ash et al., 2020).
The Syrian army is among the country's most essential components, and it has a long history in the country's growth (McIntyre 2021). The Syrian army has its origins in provincial and tribal groups, which combined into the country's formal army once the French tutelage ended and Syria gained independence. Certain elements of Syria's professional army collapsed with the commencement of the conflict in Syria, as well as the emergence of anti-government movements in 2011. The military's ineptitude in Syria, as well as the expansion of the war against everyone, as well as brutality against civilians, reflect the State's severe inadequacy. The Syrian army has progressively regained control of the nation; yet, this was only achievable due to foreign support, not the force's ability (McIntyre 2021).
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