Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Discontent and Iranian National Interests

We, in the US, were finally able to see and hear the much talked about disenchanted ME youth. The Iranian democratic electoral system, at least in ME standards, provided an outlet for Iranians to express their political preferences, yet it was not equipped to handle a wide perception of vote fraud. The youth in Iran clearly perceive themselves as disconnected from the current Iranian power configuration between the supreme leaders and elected officials. Their frustrations about the election results where less associated with love and loyalty to Mosavi, who is not necessarily known for his progressive reform agenda, and more with a frustration of Iran being associated with hardliners like Ahmadinajad.

My personal feeling having read and watched news coverage is somehow mixed. On one hand the passionate Iranian demonstration express a joined feeling that is all too real in the ME, and particularly real in Iran where democratic practises have a long tradition. Yet the region, including Israel, has seen a turn to the right. In the case of Iran it would be a continuation of a turn to the right. Nationalism and national interests are playing an ever increasing role in ME domestic politics. Did the Iranian people realize their national interest in owning Nuclear capabilities which would make them a regional power, much to the dismay of the region, US and EU, and have voted accordingly?

All signs point that this is what happened.

I believe that the Iranian liberal intelligentsia and youth have their work cut out for them. It will be an uphill battle to argue the case that Ahmadinajad's agenda, gamble in my opinion, is not in Iran's long-term interest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Rule of Law as a Stability Facilitator in Syria

I. Introduction
II. The Rule of Law and Rechtstaat: Definitions and Implications
III. Middle Eastern Colonial Legacies with Respect to Judicial Institutions
IV. The Role of Executive Power and Syria’s Judicial System
V. The Rule of Law and Stability: Beyond Equality in the Eyes of the Law
VI. Conclusion

I Introduction:
The success of authoritarianism in the Middle East (ME), dating back to the 1960s for most Arab countries, has been a topic of research in comparative political studies. A number of domestic variables have been sighted as main factors engraining the persistence of authoritarianism in the ME. Among those studied domestic factors are: cultural and socioeconomic developments, state coercion, and oil rents. The constant intervention of international powers and interests expanded possible explanations as to why authoritarianism persisted even during the 1990s, a decade of economic liberalization for Arab countries. International factors are summarized by western disapproval of turning over executive power in Arab states, through the democratic process, to possibly hostile parties opposed to their interests.

Promoting aspects of Democracy by western organizations however (such as The Rule of Law) in the Arab world has been largely based on assumptions of strictly domestic failures in recognizing socioeconomic and political equity in the Rule of Law (ROL). This explains the tremendous efforts of NGOs and intergovernmental programs towards educating citizenry in the Arab world in participatory venues, legal activism, and grounding indigenous support for civil society. According to Eva Bellin, the robustness of authoritarianism in the ME has less to do with the lack of democratic prerequisites in Arab society and more to do with internationally supported coercive apparatuses[1]. Hence, civil society is growing; labor unions are forming as empty shells in most instances or are corporatized by the state. This approach of NGOs has yet to bare fruit.

Social ideals such as a bottom-up approaches to social equality and autonomous judiciary systems in the ME are an elusive experience. Colonial legacies coupled with Western strategic interests in the region, in addition to apprehensive cultural and ideological tendencies, slow the comprehensive grassroots adaptation of what the Rule of Law is designed to represent in social development. Yet the need to adhere to the Rule of Law is greater than ever in order to keep Arab states, artificial entities in most instances, intact in addition to dampening ethnic and religious crises stirred up by lingering injustices. Enacting the ROL is necessary for Arab states beyond matters of justice; it is becoming a matter of survival of the state. Power concentration’s resistance to equality and separation of powers can be softened by a different introduction to the ROL.

This paper aspires to create the political will to enforce the Rule of Law within an authoritarian context. The Rule of Law can be introduced not as a power reducer but as a stabilizer, which in the short run can support regime continuation and allow for a possibly smoother and more stable transition to equitable forms of governance.

This paper attempts to explore an unconventional approach to promoting the Rule of Law in Arab countries, taking Syria as a case study. This paper endeavors to cross into a realm of introducing the stability enhancing feature of Rule of Law to the power elite. This is an oxymoron and an approach that defies conventional wisdom for a region that refused to conform to European based understanding of political development. This approach will be based on the calculated trade off between descending towards civil war and possible federalization along ethnic or religious lines versus an adherence to the Rule of Law that would minimize legal and socioeconomic grievances, a prompter of civil strife.

By starting with various definitions of the Rule of Law, a selective process focuses on the constitutional and judicial system in Syria and how one can employ certain definitions of the ROL to operate in concert with existing legal configurations in the Syrian judicial system. Social, political and economic implications of Rechtstaat will serve as a contrast against which possible improvements in the ROL will be compared. Colonial legacies will further illuminate how the prevailing law system in Syria effected the formation of viable legal associations and legal activism. The Duality of Civil Law and Shari’a Law in the Syrian judicial system is further examined as the designated standard barrier of the ROL in Syria.

The role of executive power is examined by the ways in which diverse ethnic and religious groups’ relate to the judicial system and how they delegate their grievances to the court system in theory and in practice. The shortfall of the judicial system to live up to its standards is taken as a social and political destabilizer, an imminent threat that slowly but surely will fuel social and political unrest if ignored, hence a threat to the ruling class and to the state as a unit.

Incorporating a mechanism of a strict adherence to the Rule of Law in the existing Syrian judicial system is argued to be a momentous interest of the Syrian power elite. Not only will a national adherence to the ROL enhance stability within a diverse social context[2] but it will also guarantee regime continuation, at least in the short run. International and domestic pressure for political and economic reform can be channeled and fine tuned in accordance with the Syrian constitutional and legal system, thereby easing the unavoidable push for reform in a stable and socially acceptable environment. This will also enhance the stance of the Syrian government internationally. Expanding the power of the judicial system and the legal profession in Syria will curb executive intrusion on the progression of an effective civil society. A controlled expansion of the margins of freedom and equality before the law within the Syrian society, as expressed by this paper, is a unifying and stabilizing factor of tremendous interest to the ruling elite.

II The Rule of Law and Rechtstaat: Definitions and Implications

The Rule of Law concept has its roots in Plato’s and Aristotle’s writings, both asserting that “law should govern”. Enacting the ROL through an institutional mechanism that would limit arbitrary excursions of power by the government was articulated before the twelfth century by Islamic jurists[3] and again in 1215 AD by King John’s signature on the Magna Carta. Habeas corpus was first used in England as a writ in 1305 against unlawful detention. What firmly established the ROL in England were the English Petition of Grievances in 1610 and the English Bill of Rights in 1689. Samuel Rutherford in Lex, Rex in 1644 and John Locke in Treaties of Governments in 1690 cast further developments on the concept within a theoretical framework. Thomas Paine in Common Sense in 1776 declared “in free countries, the law ought to be king”.

As noted by Thomas Carothers[4], ends-based definitions of the rule of law list at least five different goals:
· Making the state abide by the law
· Ensuring equality before the law
· Supplying law and order
· Providing efficient and impartial justice
· Upholding human rights
Since each end goal addresses a different cultural and political issue, this paper will address the goals that are closely linked with the constitutional and judiciary system of the state, namely:
· Ensuring equality before the law
· Providing efficient and impartial justice
· Making the state abide by the law, in other words, limiting the government’s arbitrary power

The Rule of Law if distinguished by the aforementioned trio, will ensure the ultimate distinction between the state and the executive. If the state is identified with its constitution and legal system, the executive cannot be the state nor can any other official or apparatus. The state in this case can be truly above all. Furthermore, the integrity of the legal system and judiciary institutions becomes synonymous with the integrity of the state. Any erosion or undermining of the state’s legal system becomes a matter of undermining the state as a whole. The power elite must configure a political position for itself that does not coincide with undermining the integrity of the state.

The following will take each part of the ROL’s goals and specify its implications for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society like the one present in Syria. In summary, Syria’s society is comprised of Arabs 90.3% and Kurds, Armenians and others comprise 9.7%. Sunni Muslims account for 73% Alawit and Druze make up16%, Christians (various dominations) are 10%, and Jews have tiny communities in Damascus, Alqamishli and Aleppo[5].

Ensuring Equality Before the Law

This goal ensures that each citizen, no matter how rich, how powerful or how well connected he/she is, is treated equivalent to every other citizen before the law. In other words the law applies equally to all. This provides the important notion of predictability. Equality before the law requires a strong independent court system that is able and willing to enforce the law equally and universally.

This goal of the ROL is of special importance to minorities, both ethnic and religious. Equal citizenship extended to the Arabs and Kurds alike, and to different religious dominations, must be guaranteed by the Syrian government. No equality before the law carries clout if this preliminary right is not guaranteed. As an example, Syria deprived some 300,000 Kurds of citizenship, birth certificates, and passports, thereby disqualifying them from owning property or business ventures, voting rights, and public sector employment. In addition, they could not travel outside of Syria, and those who left could not reenter[6].

Compounding economic neglect upon unequal citizenry will leave the Kurdish area in the Hassakah region (north east of Syria) vulnerable to contention and possible illegal corroboration with outside sympathizers. Unequal citizenship burdens the Kurds’ trust in the legal system even further. If social, economic and political grievances do not find an accommodating outlet in the judicial system, one can easily predict disloyalty to the state and hence the creation of a destabilizing factor. The recent enacted laws by the Turkish government, settling some of the grievances experienced by the Turkish Kurds[7], serve as a helpful guide to the Syrian judicial system in order to configure an equal acceptance of the Kurdish ethnicity into the Syrian social fabric.

Equality before the law must be understood with the assumption that what constitutes justice and fairness, both implied by equality before the law, are solely understood within a country-specific context. What matters here are the indigenous norms of justice, not international ideals, taking into account that such norms are influenced by a multitude of factors and thereby subject to a non-static process whereby society experiences an inherently indigenous progress towards greater levels of justice.

The state’s legal system and the continually discovered higher grounds of justice by the society must move in concert with a reasonable level of congruency[8].
This notion is supported by the underlying principles of the Syrian Law of Personal Statues, which is based on Takhayyor, principles most suited for changing social conditions[9]. There is also ample constitutional ground for enforcing equality before the Law. Part 4, Article 25 on (Personal Freedom, Dignity and Equality) states:
(1) Freedom is a sacred right. The state protects the personal freedom of the citizens and safeguards their dignity and security.
(2) The supremacy of law is a fundamental principle in the society and the state.(3) The citizens are equal before the law in their rights and duties.(4) The state insures the principle of equal opportunities for citizens.
Furthermore, Chapter 3, part 1, Articles 131, 132, and 133 of the Syrian Constitution, provide the legal groundwork for an independent judiciary system and for independent judges,[10] a necessary legal framework for outlawing intrusion on the integrity of the court and institutionalizing independent rulings.

Providing Efficient and Impartial Justice

Guaranteeing efficiency by the Rule of Law is emphasized to avoid delaying cases in order to extort bribes from those who are in most need of a decision. Justice delayed is justice denied” is a famous aphorism attributed to Gladstone. Further into the argument, this paper will highlight an inherent deficiency in the civil law[11] proceedings, which not only contribute to “delaying justice” but also produce a legal community that is not up to par with its supposed role of countering a concentration of power in the hands of the central state and the executives (Jackson 1982; Schraeder 2000).

Providing efficiency and impartial justice requires an efficient bureaucracy that has an independent identity and is not plagued by patrimonialism (Brownlee 2002)[12]. Otherwise a weak legal system is an impediment to use courts as a non-violent solution to conflict and as an arbiter of disputes[13]. Syria, with its multiethnic and multi-religious concentrations cannot afford to delay or bypass the delivery of efficient and impartial justice or to continue with the emergency laws that have crippled justice in many cases.. Calming and rectifying the internal front through an efficient and independent legal system, a notion supported by the Syrian Constitution, is a nationalistic priority.

The groundwork for impartial justice is already present in the judiciary system in Syria, which is being comprised of both civil and religious courts. Civil courts hear both civil and criminal cases and they are divided into four hierarchical branches: the Courts of Peace, Courts of Conciliation (sulhiyya), and the Courts of First Instance (bida’iyya). The Court of Assize is an additional criminal court that hears cases in which the punishment may exceed three years’ imprisonment. The religious courts designated with jurisdiction over personal status matters are Shari’a courts for Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, madhhabi courts for Druze, and ruhi courts for Christians and Jews The Code of Personal Status applied to Muslims by the Shari’a courts has specific exemptions for Druze, Christians and Jews,[14] who have separate tribunals, thereby curbing religious oppression. Configuring religious sensitivities within the Syrian judicial system provides grounds for expanding impartiality to procedure and deliverance. Efficient technocrats operating within a civil law legal system are a rare commodity, but a necessity nevertheless if the benefits if impartial justice are to be recognized.

Making the State Abide by the Law

Locke’s famous inquiry: Why should rulers not have absolute power over their subjects? Because they have natural rights that preceded his ruling, he answered. According to Thomas Carothers, “Binding the government to rule by law is the sine qua non of the Rule of Law”[15]. This notion however is a highly political activity. Extracting a favorable stance for the Rule of Law from the power elite is precisely within this end goal, which will allow the prior procedural end goals to take hold. When law binds the government, real powers are transferred from the executive to the judiciary system. Strong, independent judiciary systems will be able to deliver efficient, impartial justice and insure equality before the law. Simultaneously, independent and strong judiciary systems will be able to curtail overarching government powers. A technical aspect might be of practical interest in this regard, which is to transfer the allegiance of the military, security apparatus, and police from the regime to the state, herein identifying the state by its constitution and its citizens[16].

The difficulty lies with the power elite realizing that expanding the base of people invested in the system will ultimately ensure the survival and prosperity of the state. With a multiethnic multi-religious society, the only way of engaging the masses of Syrians to guard and be invested in the unity of the state and the survival of their respective government, which is identified by its constitution and legal system, is by the government’s robust adherence to the ROL.

Rechtsstaat, A Point of Reference

Kant’s theories helped develop the concept of Rechtsstaat. German jurisprudence formulated this concept, which is designed to protect citizens from the arbitrary exercise of power by the government. A Rechtsstaat employs Ronald Cass’s 2001 definition of the Rule of Law “Fidelity to rules of principled predictability, embodied in valid authority that is external to government decision makers”.

III Middle Eastern Colonial Legacies with respect to Judicial Institutions

Fullerton (2001)[17] conducted a wide study comparing the effectiveness of the Rule of Law in common law countries versus civil law countries in Africa. The title of her research is: “Inherited Legal Systems and Effective Rule of Law: Africa and the colonial legacy”. Through cross-national comparison based on Freedom House and Political Risk Services data, she found that common law countries in Africa are generally better at providing the Rule of Law than are civil law countries. However, this study did not focus precisely on the Middle East, but is nevertheless a good indicator of the wider implication of the French mandate and the inherited civil law system in Syria.

The differences between civil law and common law signify the differences between the English common law system and the continental European systems of justice. Civil law developed from the continental European system, which evolved from the codes of the Roman Empire. The French system, a civilian system, dictates the role of the individual within the state and emphasizes the idea of the state being supreme and the role of individual as obedience. This is in contrast with common law, which was developed with the idea of protecting the individual from the state[18]. The inquisitorial system of practice historically identified with the civil code of law places judges as the primary actors for gathering evidence and questioning witnesses with a tremendous trail of written proceedings. In this system, lawyers are advisors to their clients rather than the key trail actors. Trials are therefore reviews of the written record that has been collected by the judge.

Civil Law in the Roman tradition, according to Fullerton, developed as an instrument for expanding and administrating the empire. This became an effective tool for the state to regulate its citizens rather protect them from the encroachment of the state. Another interesting aspect of the impact of civil law on the effectiveness of the Rule of Law is that civil law institutions, because of the demand for written motions and records reviews, demands an efficient bureaucracy, an administrative aspect incredibly lacking in the developing world in general. Underpaid inefficient bureaucracy is a further impediment to justice.

The role of lawyers is of tremendous importance in providing alternative concentrations of power to the state, thereby enriching civil society. The role of lawyers was not completely developed by the time of independence; little attention was given to building the judiciary and the legal profession in countries under foreign mandate. This resulted in weak legal systems that were not fully equipped for substituting violent solutions to conflict. This weak judiciary and legal profession was incapable of foiling the power concentrated in the central government and the executive (Young 1994). The previously counted implications of adapting the civil law system in Syria and the ill- prepared judiciary system and legal profession at the time of independence combined with the impetus for the concentration of power in the executive made authoritarian rule an unavoidable fact in post-French mandate Syria.

IV The Role of Executive Power and Syria’s Judicial System

Since assuming power in 1970, Hafez Alassad was tremendously involved in creating an expansive organizational infrastructure, with a strict hierarchical command line in order for his government to consolidate control. This drastic organizational overhaul came on the heels of turbulent times in Syrian history from the 1946 independence untill the military coup of 1963, which brought the Arab Socialist Resurrection Party (aka the Ba’ath Party) to power.

The Ba’ath Party mobilized a constituency around nationalistic and populist reforms in the 1960s and radicalized the military through the conflict with Israel. The emergency law was passed in 1962, which suspended most constitutional protection for Syrians and restricted political activity even further in the name of the “consistent struggle” with Israel and under the guise of guarding the power structure from internal as well as external threats. This paper argues that this formula is ill-suited for the challenges of the twenty first century, and if continued will be to the detriment of Syria as a country, for the following reasons:
a. The opposition inside and outside Syria is comprised of largely sophisticated intellectuals who denounce violence and whose grievances stand on legitimate constitutional grounds. Continuing to alienate these strata by confinement, restriction in travel or incarceration is only alienating the government apparatus and causing lingering frictions in the Syrian society.
b. A peace deal between Syria and Israel is inevitable, according to most analysts, which leaves little reasoning for the continuation of the Emergency Law.
c. Muslim Brotherhood was crushed between 1978 and 1982. They denounced violence as a tool for political change in the nineties and have repeated their denouncement in recent years with the rise of AlQaeda and Jund Alsham.
d. The magic populism invoked by notions of Arab unity, Pan-Arabism, defeat and elimination of Israel, that inspired the earlier generation of Ba’athists has been shelved in the minds of younger generations of Syrians[19] who are prioritizing sovereignty, dignity, transparency and economic development.
e. Increased access to technology and information, despite censorships, is undermining the tight government grip on freedoms of speech, assembly and the press. What is missing from the government’s strategy is the initiation of its official acceptance of free speech, political association and freedom of the press, thereby tapping into the hearts and minds of younger generations of Syrians and creating good will and loyalty among the masses and not just a select few. Old threats, the two being Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood, are now replaced by the threat of losing ground gradually with a diverse forward looking society,[20] which might threaten the very existence of a unified internal front.

The most preliminary type of reform, one that can be supervised and incrementally adjusted by the government, is the concept of the Rule of Law. Adherence to the rule of law will allow for a period of stable adjustment in power structures and simultaneously allowing the exchange necessary in “elite negotiation” with political activists and reformists. Configuring the enforcement of the Rule of Law within an organizational executive infrastructure is a matter of national security and national unity.

V The Rule of Law and Stability: Beyond Equality in the Eyes of the Law

An elaborate coercive apparatus sustained the regime for over thirty years in addition to a number of instances when the Syrian president enjoyed popular support. The military’s loyalty and the security apparatus combined with the economic and political elite who are the beneficiaries of longstanding patrimonial practices assisted this executive power. What sustained the loyalty of the security apparatus and the military to the executive was a number of ideological concepts imbedded in the context of 1960s and 1970s revolutionary ideas of anti-imperialism, sovereignty, and Pan-Arabism. While some concepts still hold today, many drivers of the ideology that banns constitutional rights to Syrians is loosing ground.

It is in the political elite’s interest to step up and fill this ideological gap with the timely and necessarily full adaptation of the Syrian constitution. The Syrian constitution is the domestically crafted, unifying and binding document that possesses both legitimacy and acceptance by all Syrians. The Syrian constitution has built-in mechanisms for improvement and progress in Part 3 (Amending the Constitution), Article149 (Initiative, Majority). What is of further interest is how much emphasis is placed on democracy as a vital concept in the Syrian constitution, especially in Chapter 1 (Basic Principles), Part 1 (Political Principles) and Article 1: (1) The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic, popular, socialist, and sovereign state. As for Freedom of Expression Article 38 [Expression]: ”Every citizen has the right to freely and openly express his views in words, in writing, and through all other means of expression”.

While this paper is not concerned with the practical steps necessary for institutional (judiciary and legislative) reform that is able to uphold the Rule of Law, it nevertheless will acknowledge the grave difficulty of change on groups of society who have thrived under the regime and who fear repercussions once selective favoritism for example is banned. Overcoming pockets of resistance might take some time, hence a gradual enforcement from the top-down is another stability incentive that must be favorable to the power elite, or what Volker Perthes coins as the “Politically Relevant Elite”.

Some might argue that Authoritarianism is what has kept Syria intact since the 1960s. Although there is no empirical or otherwise distinguished qualitative analysis that would support such assertion, one might answer with: the course of social and political development that Syria has gone through from the 1960 through 2009 does not support the continuation of this argument. The authoritarian regime, since the Gulf War has been
playing an outdated game on borrowed time. It is time to own up to the future of this state and the wellbeing of Syrians and restore a good name to the Asad legacy by keeping this country united and secure and able to face the challenges of the future.

As noted by Patrick Seale[21], and reiterated by Volker Perthes,[22] approaching political reform is a tricky endeavor in an authoritarian, highly centralized regime. One might end up with a recycled political crowed. High levels of corruption and patramonialism will undermine calls for reform from outside the power circle.
On the other hand, reclaiming the Syrian constitution and abiding by the Rule of Law for the power elite will undercut a swift and abrupt implementation of the rule of law in case of a sudden disruption to the regime. Furthermore, reclaiming the Rule of Law and the Constitution by the ruling elite will ease the phase of elite negotiation and increase the negotiating leverage of the incumbent government. These are but partial results of implementing the ROL, which will ease the unavoidable push for reform in a stable and socially acceptable environment.

VI Conclusion

As indicated in the introduction of this paper, conventional wisdom concerning the promotion of the Rule of Law in Arab countries is largely based on “democratic prerequisite” assumptions. This paper recognizes the fallacy of this approach by pointing to the international factors that have sustained the coercive apparatus and hence the authoritarian regimes. One reason for such support is that security concerns in the ME region have indeed survived the Cold War. Thereby, the Middle Eastern region did not qualify for the thirds wave of democratization that has swept eastern European countries in the 1990s.

Blaming Syria’s experience with authoritarianism on the Alawit sect, and asserting that there is no hope for a country built on hate (Syria) to reform or to experience a peaceful coexistence with Israel, an argument put forth by Barry Rubin in his book “The Truth about Syria”[23] is a grave injustice. Aside from the author’s dogmatic approach, a careful deconstruction of the political and historical context and French mandated institutional influence would have revealed a different conclusion. This paper sees the authoritarian experience of Syria as a result of certain historical and political circumstances. Furthermore, the authoritarian system is partially supported by ideological concepts that have lost grounds in recent years, hence are in dire need of replenishment. This paper proposes adherence to the Rule of Law by the ruling elite as a strategic choice to bolster the unity of the internal front, sustain stability, and allow for a controlled and gradual process of reform. A reform that carries some clout since it is launched by the Rule of Law, a concept once imbedded in governmental institutions, will allow for a lawful and orderly transition to more equitable forms of governance. As such, a reform is unifying since it stems from core institutional principles, namely the Syrian constitution and the ability for it to emanate from Syrian courts. Efficient civil society can further its norms of justice within a legal and stable framework.

Adopting a complete adherence to the Rule of Law is not an obvious choice for the ruling elite, who would relinquish power voluntarily? Having control over how power is readjusted so that the judiciary system can be a reliable outlet for social progress is a wise and a long-term strategy.

-Carothers, Thomas “Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge”2006, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
-Hinnebusch, Raymond “Syria and Iran: Middle Powers in a penetrated regional system” 1997, Routledge
-Jackson, “Personal Rule in Black Africa”1982, University of California Press
-Perthes, Volker “Arab Elites: Negotiating the Politics of Change”, 2004 Lynne Rienner Publishers
-Rubin, Barry “The truth about Syria” 2007, Palgrave Macmillan
-Schraeder, “African Politics and Society” 2000, New York Bedford/ St.Martin
-Seale, Patrick “Asad”1989, University of California Press Edition
- Weeramantry, Christopher “Justice without Frontiers” 1997, Springer
-Bellin, Eva “The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective” Comparative Politics, Vol.36, No. 2, (Jan., 2004) pp. 139-157. PhD Program in Political Science of the City University of NY
-Heinberg, John Gilbert,” Theories of Majority” The American Political Science Review. Vol. 26, No. 3 (Jun., 1932) pp. 452-469. Published by American Political Science Association
-Ingram, Peter,” Maintaining the Rule of Law” The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No.141 (Oct., 1985) pp. 359-381. Published by: Blackwell Publishing for the Philosophical Quarterly
-Fullerton, Sandra “Inherited Legal Systems and Effective Rule of Law : Africa and the Colonial Legacy” The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol39, No. 4, (Dec., 2001), pp. 571-596, Cambridge University Press

[1] Eva Bellin The Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspectives 2004, p.149
[2] In addition to western preference for stability and the perseverance of territorial statues quo in the Middle East
[3] On the historical development of the Rule of Law in Islamic thought refer to Weeramantry, Justice Without Frontiers p.132
[4] Thomas Carothers Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge 2006, p.35
[5] Ethnic and religious percentages retrieved from date: May 10th.2009
[6] retrieved from date: May 9th, 2009
[7] Granting Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and education in the Kurdish language in 2004
[8] This notion is in direct contrast to imposing Democratic reforms from the outside on an authoritarian state system
[9] The Ottoman law of Family Rights governed matters of personal statues till 1953. In 1953, a commission passed the Tantawi draft code of personal law which is based on Takhayyor, and is still the bases of the Syrian Law system today. For more information consult retrieved May 6th, 2009
[10] For a closer look at the original document: The Syrian Constitution, enacted in March13th, 1973 consult retrieved May5th, 2009
[11] Syria adopted the codified legal system or “civil law” during the French mandate. After Syria’s independence in 1946, the civil law became part of the legal system along the Shari’a Law. The Shari’a Law is more compatible with the Common Law. Common Law is part of the legal system in Arab countries that were under British mandate. The stronger lawyers unions in Egypt and Jordan that traditionally carry Islamic undertones are no accident.
[12] Jason Borwnlee, “And Yet They Persist: Explaining Survival and Transition in Neo-Patrimonial Regimes,” 2002
[13] Sandra Fullerton Joirman “Inherited Legal Systems and Effective Rule of Law” 2001
[14] Further details on the Syrian court system consult retrieved May4th, 2009
[15] Thomas Carothers “Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge” 2006. p.37
[16] Carothers, p.38
[17] Sandra Fullerton,” Inherited Legal Systems and effective Rule of Law: Africa and the Colonial Legacy” The Journal of Modern Africa Studies, Vol.39, No.4 (Dec., 2001), pp.571-596 retrieved May1st, 2009
[18] Fullerton,p.574
[19]SYRIA - Baathists Fear Extinction". APS Diplomat Fate of the Arabian Peninsula. retrieved May 9, 2009

[20] 36% of the population is 14 and under. 61% is between 15-60. Literacy has jumped to 80% in recent years. retrieved May 8th, 2009
[21] Patrick Seale, “Asad” 1988
[22] Volker Perthes “Arab Elites: Negotiating the Politics of Change” , 2004, pp.87-111
[23] Barry Rubin,” The Truth about Syria”2007