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When a minority rules over a hostile majority : theory and comparison Haklai, Oded 1999

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WHEN A MINORITY RULES OVER A HOSTILE MAJORITY: THEORY AND COMPARISON by ODED HAKLAI B.A., THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY, 1997 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Political Science) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1999 ©OdedHaklai, 1999  In  presenting  degree freely  at  this  the  thesis  in  partial  fulfilment  University  of  British  Columbia, I agree that the  available for  copying  of  department publication  this or of  reference  thesis by  this  his  for  and study. scholarly  or  thesis for  her  I further  purposes  financial  of  Pr)U\l(nA  Date  DE-6 (2788)  requirements  agree  It  gain shall not  £G/(VJ^  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  the  may  representatives.  permission.  Department  of  be is  that  Library  an  granted  by  advanced  shall make  permission for  understood be  for  the that  allowed without  it  extensive  head  of  my  copying  or  my  written  ABSTRACT With few exceptions, not enough attention has been paid to the phenomenon of ethnic minority rule over hostile majorities in the studies of ethnic conflict. This thesis attempts to account for the ability of ethnic minorities to rule over hostile majorities for continuous periods of time, and to devise a theory for the study of this phenomenon by comparing three cases: the Alawis in Syria, the Tutsis in Burundi and the Sunni Muslim minority in Iraq. The major argument of the thesis is that the phenomenon in question does not occur randomly. There are certain conditions that motivate an ethnic minority to seek political power, and to be able to attain it and maintain continuous rule despite the hostility of the majority. Naturally, each case has its particular characteristics, yet common patterns underlying minority rule over hostile majorities can be found, and an analytical framework can bJe devised. The examination of the three cases leads to the conclusion that minority rule has to be explained by examining how the identities of the minority and majority were formed, how they have been shaped throughout the history of interaction between the two groups, and how they have influenced the relationship between the groups. There is also a need to study how political entrepreneurs manipulate traditional markers and modern issues for instrumental gains. On this basis, it is possible to understand the political salience of the identities, the level of hostility and the reasons why the minorities seek political power. Attaining it or retaining it, and maintaining it for a continuous period of time is dependent on an authoritarian government structure, which includes, indispensably, considerable army involvement in politics. Persistent minority rule is also  ii  dependent on its ability to legitimize itself, primarily by creating a unified identity. Success in forming such a unified identity implies a decrease in the saliency of elements of identity that' distinguish between the groups, and ultimately a decrease in the level of hostility. This allows the minority rule to persist. If, however, this "unified identity" does not have the desired outcome of mollifying the majority, the ruling minority can, and will, use its military monopoly of coercive power to subdue internal opposition.  111  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  ii  .  .  .  .  .  iv  Table of Contents  .  List of Figures.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  v  Acknowledgements .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  vi  Introduction. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1  CHAPTER I Theoretical Framework For Ethnic Conflict and Minority.Rule . . . .  .  .  .  .  4  1.1 Theorizing about Ethnic Conflict. 1.2 A Theoretical Model of Minority Rule . 1.2.1 The Establishment of Group Consciousness 1.2.2 The Circumstances that Stimulate Minorities to Seek Power 1.2.3 Maintaining Minority Rule . . . . CHAPTER II The Case of Syria  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  24  CHAPTER III The Case of Burundi .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  44  CHAPTER IV The Case of Iraq  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6 8  Conclusion: Explaining Minority Rule  .  .  .  .  .  96  Bibliography .  .  .  .  .  .  108  CHAPTER V  .  .  .  List of Figures Figure 1  .  .  .  .  .  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I wish to thank Diane Mauzy, my thesis supervisor, for her advice, effort and editorial and substantive comments, which contributed immensely to the shape of this thesis. I am most"grateful to John Wood for his inspiration and support. This thesis would not have been written had it not been for his insights regarding some of the problems faced by non-Western societies. I also wish to thank Kai Holsti for the directed reading course, which enabled me to attain the theoretical knowledge of ethnic conflict. I am indebted to Don Maclnnis, who volunteered to read and edit parts of this thesis, and offered his advice. Most of all, I owe special thanks to my wife for her patience and support. Thanks to her, 1 was able to focus exclusively on my work and "get it done".  vi  INTRODUCTION The debate concerning ethnic conflicts has produced diverse approaches, attempting to explain: why groups develop distinct identities; why differentiation turns into political conflict; what types of identities and conflicts exist; and what resolutions are possible. However, not enough attention has been paid to the phenomenon of ethnic minority rule over a hostile majority: for example, the Sunni Muslim minority in Iraq, 1  the Tutsis in Burundi and the Alawis in Syria. There are those who acknowledge the importance of this feature; however, an analytical framework, accounting for the ability 2  of ethnic minorities to rule hostile majorities over continuous periods of time, has yet to be produced in ethnic conflict theory. It may be asked why a theory of minority rule in a situation of ethnic antagonism and tension is needed? Since the phenomenon is relatively rare, why not be content with 3  ad hoc explanations of each individual case? The major argument of this thesis is that there are certain conditions that motivate an ethnic minority to seek power and enable it to maintain continuous rule despite the hostility of the majority, and that this phenomenon does not occur randomly or when these conditions do not prevail. Therefore, an analytical framework can be devised to assist in accounting for and understanding this phenomenon. An explanation of minority rule can be divided into three sets of conditions. The first set relates to the circumstances that evoke self-awareness and lead to the cohesion of the minority group. These conditions have to do with a collective experience of persecution that brings about group-consciousness and a strong sense of group loyalty, combined with primordial attachments. The second set is concerned with the  1  circumstances that stimulate ethnic minorities to seek political power as a group, and enable them to attain it. The colonial legacy is of paramount importance here. The political manipulations of the colonizers have often served to deepen cleavages through divide-and-rule tactics, and have changed the balance of power between the various ethnic groups by allowing favored groups access to governing institutions, particularly the army, in a modernizing state structure. The third set refers to the conditions that allow the minority group to stabilize its rule and prolong it. Attaining this goal is dependent on an authoritative government structure, dominance in the army, the competence of political leaders and their policies. The seeming inability of majority leaders to establish group cohesion and develop alternative political institutions also helps the minority regime to persist. Reasoning from assumptions about identity formation and ethnic conflict to an analytical framework that will account for minority rule is of questionable use if theory is divorced from reality. Accordingly, the argument raised here will be tested in three case studies: Syria, Burundi and Iraq. It should be stressed that each of these cases has its special features, and in each of these cases, the extent to which the minorities manage to stabilize their control differs. Nevertheless, commonalities can be found and generalizations can be made. It is often the case that these variations shed light on important aspects of minority rule and assist in the comparison. In other words, it is not only what these cases have in common, but also the ways in which they differ that enable the drawing of conclusions about the ability of minorities to rule hostile majorities. r  2  The exception to this claim is the study of minority rule in South Africa, in which a minority Of Europeans ruled a hostile indigenous majority. However, since minority rule in South Africa was a continuation of colonialism, it is of no interest to this study. 1  Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff, Ethnic Conflicts in World Politics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 24. 2  According to the data of the Minorities at Risk project conducted by Ted Robert Gurr in the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, there are only three such cases currently existing in the world: Tutsi rule in Burundi, Alawi rule in Syria and Sunni rule in Iraq. A distinction that should be made is between minority rule over other minorities and minority rule over groups that constitute the majority in the country in question. The phenomenon of minority rule over other minorities is particularly common in African countries, such as Ethiopia, Angola, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Somalia, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. However, this study is interested in understanding the latter phenomenon. 3  3  I  THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND MINORITY R U L E  FOR ETHNIC  CONFLICT  With few exceptions, theories of ethnic conflict have yet to deal seriously with minority rule. Some of the existing theories, however, provide important insights into the questions of identity formation and the sources of ethnic conflict. Since a successful account of minority rule is dependent upon understanding the context of the conflict in which it exists, a synthesis of some of those theories with the widest relevance to the analytical framework is important to this study. The first part of this chapter centers on a discussion of theories of ethnic conflict. The second part attempts to devise an analytical framework that will explain the phenomenon of ethnic minority rule.  1.1  Theorizing about Ethnic Conflict There are numerous methods of classifying the various theories of ethnic conflict.  In many cases, the categorization is determined by two factors: (1) the elements which the theory emphasizes as the primary sources of ethnic strife; and (2) the elements upon which the classifiers wish to draw for their own analysis. Thus, there are those who focus on ethnic attachments and distinguish between the primordial and the modernist approaches, while others prefer to differentiate between the relative deprivation 1  approach, emphasizing social and economic factors, and the cultural approach, which emphasizes history, religion, myths and language. For the purposes of minority rule 2  analysis, the various theories can be categorized into three broad perspectives: (1) the cultural approach; (2) the modernist approach; and (3) the psychological approach. The first perspective understands ethnicity in a cultural sense. The advocates of this approach regard shared culture as the main source for establishing common  4  identities, thus defining ethnic groups as sets or categories distinguished predominantly by their culture. This may include language, religion, historical myths, attachment to a homeland, etc. Some scholars argue that a better understanding of ethnic conflict could 3  be established if the ultimate focus were restricted to relations distinguished by cultural differences. In their view, cultural identities carry strong emotional impacts, and conflicts occur in culturally plural societies when these cultural identities are perceived to be endangered because of contact between the groups.  4  However, although cultural factors help explain identities, they do not fully encompass them, and do not explain how differences devolve into violence. Critics argue that the cultural approach cannot account for the variation of intensity in attachments. In 5  some cases attachments are stronger than in others. Horowitz rightly asks whether there is "any reason to believe that the more pronounced the cultural differences between the groups, the greater the ethnic conflict?" There are cases in which cultural groups are not 6  in a state of perpetual conflict, such as Switzerland: German, Italian, French and Romanch-speaking groups live in circumstances in which some proponents of the cultural approach would predict strife. This approach helps pinpoint group identities and differences, but, on its own, it does not adequately explain what differences become salient in what circumstances and why. Nevertheless, the emphasis on primordial attachments is a virtue of this approach. The merit of considering the cultural aspects of ethnicity in conjunction with other approaches is that they form the foundation for almost all the explanations for ethnic conflict. The modernist approach argues that instrumental incentives are at the core of contemporary ethnic cleavages. According to this view, conflicts are initiated by elites  5  due to competition which arises from modern political and economic circumstances rather than from cultural distinctions or primordial attachments. Critics of this approach argue that by focusing on rational incentives, modernists overlook the emotional aspects of ethnic attachments. The question of why instrumental goals, whether economic or 8  political, are combined with self-discovery of ethnic roots is left unanswered. Accordingly, there has to be an emotional element in the collective ethnic identity. Anthony D. Smith criticizes the modernist approach, arguing that parallels to the modern idea of "nation" or "ethnic identity" can be found in pre-modern eras. He gives the example of the Greek and Roman perceptions of those who came from different citystates and did not share their culture. Smith also argues that attempts by groups to liberate a homeland conquered by aliens are not restricted only to modern times. He gives the Jews as an example.  9  The merit of the modernist approach lies in its emphasis on the changing nature of identity. Because of the strong emotional attachments that characterize ethnic identity, some theorists perceive it to be constant. Ethnicity is a variable, shaped and reshaped by 10  historical events and cultural trends. Mobility of individuals exists, and people can and have moved from one group to another. Attachments vary from case to case, and largely depend on circumstances. These circumstances, however, do not have necessarily to be modern. The psychological approach to ethnic conflict attempts to resolve the difficulty of the instrumental approach by attributing an emotional dimension to ethnicity. Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff claim that the intensity of identity within a group is subject to the extent to which the group is treated unequally. Discrimination has a psychological effect  6  on the deprived, strengthening their group identity. They suggest that the more strongly individuals identify with the group and its sense of deprivation, the more likely they are to take action based on a need for self-esteem, rather than with material benefits.  11  However, pointing to discrimination without accounting for its causes does not provide a complete understanding of the sources of ethnic conflict. Nevertheless, this approach is important to our analysis, since it emphasizes the subjective nature of ethnic conflicts, and the important role of persecution, deprivation and discrimination in perpetuating hostility. It is common for most perspectives to emphasize the role played by leaders. In order for a significant conflict to occur, group members have to be mobilized. The effectiveness of the mobilization is dependent on the competence of the leaders. Anthony Smith, for example, claims that in order to grasp the intensity of ethnic conflicts fully, among other things, there is a need to examine how political entrepreneurs exploit the 12  emotional elements of ethnic consciousness. These various approaches all contribute to our understanding of ethnic conflict, and one or another individually may seem entirely suitable for explaining a particular case. For example, an approach emphasizing language cleavages may be suitable for analyzing group conflict in Belgium. But it would not explain anything in Burundi. Since ethnic conflict is often a multi-faceted and very complex phenomenon where elites can manipulate both traditional markers and modern issues, a single approach will often not suffice. This thesis will therefore combine elements of a number of approaches in an effort to explain minority rule over hostile majorities.  7  A definition that derives from a synthesis of the merits of the three approaches introduced above perceives ethnic groups as sets of individuals who share a sense of common identity based on a collective historical experience and often accompanied by distinctive cultural or physical characteristics. Members of an ethnic group share an historical memory of which, they believe, their contemporary distinctiveness is a product. Donald Horowitz refers to this element of ethnic identity as "the myth of collective origins." This could imply an attachment to a homeland where they once resided and 13  perhaps governed. Persecution throughout different stages of history, slavery, or lost battles are also group experiences that produce a collective memory, and result in a sense of group distinctiveness. The different historical experiences are combined with primordial attachments. These could be various physical features or cultural characteristics, such as religion, language, beliefs and values. For example, AfricanAmericans in the U.S. A constitute an ethnic group because of their ancestors' collective historical experience as slaves, which goes along with their skin color. Jews, whether ultra-orthodox or atheist, also comprise an ethnic group because of their belief in their historical heritage and shared experience, even though apart from that subjective belief, they may not share any other cultural similarities. The Alawis in Syria, possessing their distinct cultural traits, are also an ethnic group; their experience throughout history has been of persecution and discrimination, forcing them into a segregated territory and creating of them a distinct class. In attempting to account for ethnic conflicts, the definition proposed leads to a conclusion that primordial features, such as cultural differences or color distinction, are necessary for there to be an ethnic identity, and therefore a conflict. One useful way of  8  looking at the historical experience of ethnic groups is through the notion of "competition" in various spheres. Competition tends to make cleavages salient, and to give them an "us verses them" dimension. As suggested by the proponents of the psychological and instrumental perspectives, the historical experience of ethnic groups has to do with the perception of some sort of political, social or economical competition, whether as an advantaged group or a deprived one. Therefore, an explanation of ethnic 14  conflicts should take primordial attachments as a given and focus on the historical process. In many cases, the conflict can be characterized as a struggle of the historically advantaged groups to retain their advantage, and of the disadvantaged groups for political, social or economic benefits and status; a struggle which, they hope, will drive them out of their disadvantaged position. Horowitz has pointed out that often the absolute status and wealth of a group is less important than threats to or actual changes in the relative status and wealth of a group. It is from this scenario that an attempt to explain 15  the phenomenon of ethnic minority rule over hostile majorities should be made.  1.2  A Theoretical Model of Minority Rule Minority rule over hostile majorities is a rare occurrence. Certain conditions must  prevail before it can happen. There are three sets of conditions that seem crucial. First, there are the circumstances that evoke self-awareness among members of the ethnic minority and lead it to define itself in opposition to the majority "other". Second, there must be conditions prevalent that stimulate the ethnic minority to seek political power as a group and enable it to attain it. Third, certain circumstances relating to government-  9  structure, ruling strategies and lack of majority-group cohesion must exist to allow the minority to maintain control.  1.2.1  The Establishment of Group Consciousness Thefirstset of conditions relates to the formation of a distinct and cohesive group  identity among members of the ethnic minority. There are four interconnected conditions in this set: 1) a distinct historical memory and myths; 2) primordial attachments, such as cultural or physical features, distinguishing between the groups; 3) an historical experience of deprivation or persecution, evoking the self-awareness of the minority group; and 4) an "us versus them" feeling established on the basis of the previous three conditions. As mentioned earlier, through the definition of ethnicity, in order for the group to feel ethnically distinct, it is essential that its members share a belief that they were derived..from the same origins and have undergone a distinct historical experience. This shared memory may include wars, persecutions, the development of a distinct socioeconomic class, self rule over a home land, and so on. It has also been pointed out that primordial attachments should not be overlooked when accounting for the formation of an ethnic identity. The definition of ethnicity assumes that members of a group share a sense of belonging to a distinct group. The strong emotional impact of this sense of belonging often implies an embracing of all that characterizes the group, whether it is tangible physical characteristics or cultural traits. Members of a group feel distinguishable from other groups by the belief that the  10  particular configuration of their collective historical experience and their cultural and/or physical traits are distinct. A collective historical memory and myths and the existence of distinct cultural and/or physical features are necessary conditions for a particular ethnic identity to exist. However, these are not generally sufficient to account for group cohesion. Gurr suggests that cohesive minorities are those in which most of members of the group are willing to subordinate their personal preferences to group preferences, and all political leaders are willing to leave their internal rivalries aside, and cooperate for the common goal. Often, 16  a major factor in the creation of a cohesive group is an experience of discrimination, deprivation and/or persecution. It is sometimes this experience that creates the collective historical memory. Ted Gurr and Barbara Harff propose that the intensity of group identity among minorities is often subject to the extent to which the group perceives that it is treated.unequally and driven to the margins. In many cases, the cohesiveness of a minority group is determined by the severity of the discrimination.  17  Another factor playing a major role here is the dispersion of the group. The more territorially, concentrated, the more cohesive it usually is (although some diasporic groups have a strong and cohesive identity, such as the Somalis, Armenians, Chinese and Jews, their dispersion is not by choice but due to severe persecution, which itself generates cohesion, or economic necessity). Gerard Chaliand claims that the level of dispersion is determined by the degree of security the individual members of the group feel. Persecuted minorities "often find refuge in mountainous areas: the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Atlas in the Maghrib, Kurdistan, the mountains of Indochina, southeastern China, the high Andes, etc." It seems that the less secure minorities feel, the greater 18  11  their tendency for residential segregation. Isolation from the rest of society in itself may produce cultural traits and, as already mentioned, a distinct historical experience. The combination of all these factors often generates an "us versus them" feeling and a distinct and cohesive ethnic identity.  1.2.2  The Circumstances that Stimulate Minorities to Seek and Attain Power The conditions that stimulate an ethnic minority to seek and attain political power  are the products of the group's history, which is the most vital component in an explanation of ethnic conflict. The shape of social structures, cultures, economic life and political institutions are influenced by diverse experiences, leading to dissimilar outcomes in different regions of the world. For example, many scholars have noted that 19  the impact of colonialism on contemporary ethnic conflicts is immense. In colonized regions, policies of divide-and-rule, the creation of hierarchy among the conquered people by favoring certain groups over others, or the formation of arbitrary borders, all influenced the contemporary social structure. Colonization has had a hand in influencing 20  the shape of contemporary social conflicts. All three cases of minority rule over hostile majorities to be examined here exist in regions which were colonized. The colonialists sharpened ethnic cleavages and selfawareness. In all three cases, the colonial powers stimulated the ethnic minority to seek political power, and provided it with the tools and opportunities to obtain it. The colonial powers accomplished this by divide-and-rule tactics, and policies, which gave the minority unprecedented privileges. Not only did colonial rule improve the minority's social status, but it also established a modern state structure, the borders of which were  12  often arbitrarily created and included a variety of ethnic groups, and allowed members of the minority access to governing institutions, which had control over the majority, such as the bureaucracy, administration and most importantly, the army. In other words, in all existing cases of minority rule over hostile majorities, colonialism ensured that the balance of power was in favor of the ethnic minority. Scholars have claimed that it was often the case that the different ethnic groups joined forces in their fight for independence and began fighting amongst themselves after the retreat of colonialism. Donald Horowitz argues that national movements seeking to 22  drive the colonialists away were not always wholly representative of all ethnic groups in 23  their territory.  Because the minority perceives its identity as distinct from that of the  majority, it is possible that the ethnic minority would not be a major participant in the independence movement as a whole, but would make claims for its own selfdetermination.  24  The minority, then, can either join the fight for independence, or it can seek alternative ..ways.of gaining political power, which will decrease the chances of its oppression by the majority or allow it to attain its privileged status. After the colonial departure, the extent of access the minority group has or gains to major political institutions plays an important role in determining whether the group will decide to fight for independence or try to prevent its oppression, or preserve its privileged status from within the new state. Rarely do discriminated-against minorities have access to political institutions. Lack of such access may motivate continuing struggles for an independent polity. Access to state institutions that play major political roles seem to be a necessary condition for the minority to attain political power within the existing framework of the  13  independent state. An indispensable institution for providing political power is the army. In all three cases, the minority group, as a result of colonial policy, dominated the officer class of the army. This enabled them to consolidate their control over other institutions, and to ensure their rule. Usually, where such access exists, it is largely the result of its colonial legacy. However, it should also be noted that some minority groups which had access to state institutions under the colonizers were not able to take control after independence, for example, the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The role of the leaders is a,major one in achieving power, as well as in maintaining it. It is up to them to keep the group cohesive, to control the group and mobilize it. An efficient leadership is necessary for the group to. reach the desired destiny. Gurr claims that the more autocratic the leadership, the more the group devotes itself to the. collective goal and overpowers individual preferences. Where diverse views and 25  competition over the leadership are permitted, instability and less cohesiveness result. Some of the conditions that enable the minority to gain power do not concern it directly, but rather relate to the majority group and the regime. Lack of cohesion among the majority group is an essential element, and the more inner-battles among competing majority .elites, the easier it becomes for the minority to achieve its task of consolidating power over the state. Instability of the regime, possibly in the form of rebellions or coups, makes the majority group non-cohesive and shifts the focus from the minority issue to the lack of solidarity within the majority. The shift of focus produces an opportunity for members of the minority to consolidate, their control over the institutions to which they have had access. It is then a question of how strong those institutions are in the state structure and the amount of  14  power the minority wields in those institutions. The more powerful the institutions and the more dominant the minority group is therein, the greater the chances of the minority to maintain their status in or to take over the control of the state.  1.2.3  Maintaining Minority Rule Once power has been gained, conditions for maintaining minority rule are  essential. Most important is the government structure. An authoritarian regime, maintaining tight control over many aspects of social life, is necessary. In a democracy, under conditions of conflict, an ethnic minority government is highly unlikely to be voted into office,, or to be ableto maintain its rule over a hostile majority. This may occur in cases where minorities rule other minorities, but not in cases in which one of the groups comprises a majority. In such cases, elections can easily allow a turnover in the balance of power. In authoritarian regimes, the government has the ability to prevent political competition and impede social activities of the groups under its rule. James Guy notes that one of the characteristics of an authoritarian regime is the lack of civil control over the army. As already mentioned, the army is an institute of paramount importance in 26  attaining and maintaining minority rule. Minority groups have to be dominant in the army. Not only does dominance in the army enable minorities to attain rule, often through military coups, but it also helps them to maintain their rule. Minority rule requires heavy reliance on the control the army has over the political institutions of the state. Such regimes have the ability to use almost unrestrained force to suppress their challengers. With some exceptions, such as the case of Singapore, a large extent of state control over the economy characterizes authoritarian regimes. State involvement in the 27  15  economy can be viewed on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum stand liberal democracies that permit a relatively autonomous market economy. At the other end of the spectrum stands the most extreme case of state involvement in the economy: the command economy, as was the case in the former totalitarian Soviet Union. In all three cases of minority rule over hostile majorities, the state's involvement in the economy is extensive, however the scope of control is less intense than in cases of command economies. Some economic freedom for the citizens is permitted. Loosening control is often done to decrease the chances of an insurgence based on material motives. In other words, when members of the majority group (or any group) are allowed a degree of economic progress, there is less incentive for them to revolt. What is more, since group cohesion is heavily intensified by deprivation, a majority group that is not economically deprived will.have its ability to unite weakened along with its chances of conducting a successful rebellion. Minority regimes attempt to gain legitimacy, which will ensure their stability. Generally, continuous minority rule over hostile majorities is characterized by government policies that try to blur the distinctions between the minority and majority. This can be attained using two measures: the establishment of a strategic goal that is common to both groups and that will conceal the contradistinctions, and assimilation or appearance of assimilation by the ruling minority itself. In introducing the common strategic goal, the regime might also point to an external threat to all the population residing in its territory. A common threat prioritizes immediate co-operation and postpones intra-state conflicts to periods in which the threat decreases. This does not  16  necessitate that there be a real threat, but simply that the minority regime will seek to give this impression in order to establish a sense of a united destiny. As already mentioned, the existence of Cultural differences plays a role in the formation of distinct identities. Once in power, the minority regime, which tries to attain legitimacy from the majority, has an interest in insuring that the majority group will not perceive the regime as alien. Aiming for legitimacy, therefore, may lead it to blur those distinct identities by concealing cultural differences. The role of ideologies becomes of immense importance here. If there is an imposed official ideology that corresponds to the cultural values of the minority but contradicts the values of the majority, agitation might build up and cause unrest. Therefore, we should expect that a persistent minority regime will avoid making some of its cultural values the official values of the society. If, on the other hand, an official ideology conforming to the values of the majority, is implemented, the minority regime loses a part of its purpose. Since it is reasonable to assume that a minority regime over a hostile majority would wish to downplay ethnic distinctions in order to achieve stability, we should expect that a persistent minority regime will either lack an official ideology, or aim to establish an ideology that unites the groups without conflicting with the values of the majority. Thus, in cases of minority rule over hostile majorities, the minorities are not in power primarily for the preservation of their cultural identity, as suggested by scholars such as Donald Forbes (although cultural identity may well be preserved); rather, they govern essentially in order to gain political, social and economic benefits for their members, and to avoid oppression or gain status, as suggested by the psychological approach.  17  There are other measures that are often taken to decrease alienation, and to help legitimize and stabilize the regime. One such measure is placing personnel from the majority in high-ranked positions that, however, generally lack any substantial authority and are usually symbolic. The regime may also attempt to abolish social and territorial distinctions between the two groups, to the extent that those exist, and to absorb other minorities into the government. The latter policy resembles the colonial divide-and-rule tactic: it not only prevents other minority groups from teaming up. with the majority, but also gives them an incentive to abet continuance of the existing order. After all, rule by the majority does not imply equality of status for the other minorities, and participation in the government of another minority could bring about benefits. The-lack of cohesion among potential majority challengers, as mentioned earlier with regard to a minority gaining power, is also an extremely important factor for a minority to be able to maintain power. The more the majority group is divided into sects, the more difficult it is to challenge the regime. Absence of a shared sense of economic and political deprivation, coercive control by the regime, supra-communal ideologies, frictions concerning leadership, etc. weaken the chances of fully supported challenges. In the following chapters, the argument outlined above is applied to three cases: Syria, Burundi and Iraq. Naturally, each case is distinctive. The degree of the regime's success in stabilizing its rule and its legitimacy varies from case to case. This is partly because the intensity of hostility differs, as do the group attachments. However, commonalities exist and the differences can be accounted for. When attempting to understand the phenomenon of minority rule over hostile majorities, it is important to examine the collective historical experience of the ethnic groups, in question, and how  18  this has' affected their self-perceptions and group cohesion. Primordial attachments intensify their sense of distinctiveness. However, it is generally the sense of political, social and material deprivation and persecution shared by members of the minority that bring it to be self-aware, to possess a strong sense of common interest and destiny, and make the ethnic cleavage politically salient. When distinguishing between the majority and minority is secondary to the commonalities, and the history of relations between the majority and minority is not of persecution and intense hostility, it is a will to maintain existing political power that drives the minority. We can expect that when the distinguishing cultural elements between various groups are. deep-rooted, and when the history of persecution and conflicts between the groups is more extensive, hostility would be more intense. Once group-consciousness exists, there need to be conditions that stimulate the minority to seek and, gain political power and to be able to attain it inside the framework of the state of which it is a part. The colonial legacy has usually played a major role in determining the existence of such conditions, as divide-and-rule, tactics inflamed the conflict, gave the minority access to governing institutions, particularly the army, and thus changed the balance of power between the groups in favor of the minority. It is also necessary for there not to be a realistic option for the minority to form an independent nation-state after colonial withdrawal. In order for the minority to seek political power inside the existing state, an option to establish a separate polity should not be available. Penetration into institutions is an essential prerequisite for gaining control over the state. Another precondition for the occurrence of such a state of affairs is lack of cohesion among the majority group and competition among its political leaders. Once these  19  conditions exist, the level of competence of minority leaders determines whether advantage of the circumstances is taken and control over the state is established. Having obtained control, rule can become continuous given a structure which allows unrestrained oppression of any possible revolt. We can therefore expect the stability of the minority regime to be partly determined by its dominance in key institutions that control the state. Furthermore, the regime's ability to blur the distinctions and establish a unified identity assists in lessening hostility. Therefore, we can expect a persistent minority regime to pursue policies of uniting identities, blurring the group distinctions, and hiding the fact that it is a minority rule. The purpose of these policies is to legitimize the regime. In each of the three cases that follow, the level of* hostility is varied. There are various factors that influence the level of hostility. Of primary importance are the incidents of violence. Generally, the longer the history of violent occurrences and their severity, the more intense the level of hostility. Since, as mentioned earlier, wars and group experiences influence identity, it can be said that, generally, the more distinct the group identities are as a result of violent incidents between the groups, the greater the sense of "us versus them" and the level of hostility. The level of hostility largely influences the resistance of the majority and the response of the minority regime. It is often the case that the more resentful the majority is towards the rninority regime, the greater the chances that organized resistance will exist. The responses of the regime to the resistance of the majority, in turn, are generally influenced by the intensity of the resistance and the level of hostility. Thus, the actions that the minority regime takes against leaders of the majority group can assist in determining the level of hostility. These actions can include detention or killing of  20  majority leaders, violent attacks in places in which resistance movements enjoy support and restriction on freedom of movement, association and the press. The composition of the army office corps and rank-and-file and the levels of co-optation achieved can also serve as indicators for determining how much the regime feels it can permit majority participation without compromising its stability and hold on power.. Ultimately the regime's success in legitimizing itself and allowing the minority rule to persist is largely influenced by its ability to decrease the level of hostility and create a unified identity. In cases in which the distinguishing elements of identity between the- minority and majority are secondary to the unifying ones, the level of hostility is lower, resistance is less intense and minority rule is more stable. The opposite is also true. Comparing the levels of hostility over time in the three cases being studied should reveal how successful, or not, these regimes have been in legitimizing themselves and stabilizing their regimes.  See for example, Harold R. Isaacs, "Basic Group Identity," in Nathan Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan (eds.), Ethnicity: Theory and Experience (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp.2952; Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986); and also Jack David Eller and Reed M. Coughlan, "The Poverty of Primordialism: The Demystification of Ethnic attachments," Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol.16, No.10 (1993), pp.183-202. 1  See for example, David Brown, "From Peripheral Communities to Ethnic Nations: Separatism in Southeast Asia," Pacific Affairs Vol.61, No. 1 (1988), pp.51-77. 2  See for example, Walker Connor, "Eco- or Ethno-Nationalism?" Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol.7, No.3 (1984), pp.342-359; also Clifford Geertz, The Interpretations of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 1973), pp.44-49. Language played a primary role in the definition of ethnicity for many German and French nationalists during the 19 century and at the beginning of the 20 century. For discussion on the role of language in European nationalism see Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New York: Collier Macmillan, 1944); Elie Kedourie, Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993) and Eric J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 3  th  th  21  4  Hugh Donald Forbes, Ethnic Conflict: Commerce, Culture and the Contact Hypothesis (New  Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 142-146; M G . Smith, The Plural Society in the British West Indies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965). This criticism appears in Jack David Eller and Reed M. Coughlan, "The Poverty of Primordialism: The Demystification of Ethnic Attachments," Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol.16, No. 10 (1993), pp. 183-202. 5  Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985), p. 135. 6  7  Paul R. Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison (Newbury Park, CA: Sage,  8  Horowitz, p. 134.  9  Anthony Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986), pp.11-12.  1991).  10  See for example, Isaacs, pp:29-52.  " Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff, Ethnic Conflict in World Politics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994); Ted Robert Gurr, Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflict (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1993), pp.77-93. Anthony D. Smith, "Chosen People: Why Ethnic Groups Survive," Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol.15, No.3 (1992), pp.436-456; also The Ethnic Revival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 12  and The Ethnic Origins of Nations. 13  Horowitz, p.52.  See for example, Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff, Ethnic Conflict; Paul R. Brass Ethnicity and Nationalism; and the various works of Anthony D. Smith. 14  15  Horowitz, pp. 196-201.  16  Gurr, p.84.  17  Gurr and Harff, pp.87-93.  Gerard Chaliand, "Minority Peoples in the Age of Nation-States," in Gerard Chaliand (ed.), Minority Peoples in the Age of Nation-States (London: Pluto Press, 1989), p.5. 18  19  Gurr and Harff, pp.5-26.  For a discussion of the effects of colonialism on ethnic conflicts, see Gurr and Harff; Horowitz, pp.3-5 and 141-185;Christopher S. Clapham, Third World Politics: An Introduction (London: Croom 20  Helm, 1985), pp.12-38 and D. A. Low, Lion Rampant: Essays in the Study of British Imperialism (London:  Cass, 1973). The impact of colonialism on the balance of power between minorities and majorities has been observed by Low, pp.87-107. 21  22  Clapham, pp.28-33.  23  Horowitz, pp.151-175.  22  24  Ibid.  25  Gurr and Harff, p89.  James John Guy, People Politics and Governments (Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1998), pp.157-158. 26  27  Ibid.  II  THE CASE OF SYRIA The Syrian case illustrates how a minority regime can persist despite a high level  of hostility between the majority and minority. As shall be shown, a long history of persecution and isolation, combined with cultural features, has created two distinct identity groups in Syria. This history has had a large effect on the level of hostility between the various groups. In order to defend itself from persecution, the minority had to gain political power. Thus, in Syria, the Alawi minority, constituting about 11 % of the population, has been ruling since the late 1960s over a hostile Sunni majority, constituting about 75% of the population. Other groups in Syria include the Kurds, Druze, Armenians and Circassians. The Syrian regime perceives the Sunni majority as a threat to its stability. Through an authoritative government structure, the regime is attempting to attain stability by constraining the political actions and opportunities of the Sunni majority. At the same time, the regime is attempting to win legitimacy by mitigating the hostilities between the groups. The Alawi regime has promoted a common identity and has emphasized unity. The extent to which the regime has managed to form a common identity has influenced the level of hostility and the regime's stability. In the 1990s, it seems as if the strategies of the regime have enabled it to gain legitimacy to the extent that it no longer faces many violent challenges. However, the level of hostility is still high, as the Sunnis are almost totally excluded from the highest political institutions, hundreds of political prisoners have been detained without trial, the Syrian army is Alawi dominated, and the Republican Guard, almost entirely Alawi, enforces strict restrictions on opposition activities and the media.  24  In order to understand the complexity of Alawi-Sunni relations, it is important to understand how these groups are differentiated, and how their distinct identities came into being. The primary cultural features distinguishing Alawis from Sunnis are related to religion. The religious nature of the Alawis is controversial in the Syrian realm, and while the Alawi Syrian president declares the Alawis to be Muslim, this view does not conform to the Sunni notion of Islam. The initial strife between the two sects can be traced back to the ninth century, when the Alawis split away from the Shi'ite tradition of Islam. A l i , the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, was entrusted with a role considered more sacred than the role of Muhammad. The current group name, Alawi, reflects an adherent of A l i . The Alawi interpretation of Islam is unrecognized by the other sects of Islam, and is considered by the Sunnis to be a rejection of their religion.  1  The Alawis hold a synthetic view of their religion, incorporating elements from Christianity.  Consequently, Alawis celebrate typical Christian festivals such as  2  Christmas, Easter and New Year's day..Moreover, they honour many Christian saints and commonly use the Arabic equivalence of Christian names. But a more important factor in distinguishing Alawi practices from the Sunni tradition is their rejection of the five pillars of Islam and the sacred law, the Sharia. Accordingly, drinking wine, a strict prohibition 3  in Islam, is permitted, and they do not fast during Ramadan. Unlike Sunnis, Alawis do not pray in mosques, but rather in homes of religious leaders. Due to their different 4  practices, mainstream Muslims, both Sunni and Shi'ite, traditionally regard Alawis as non-Muslims.  5  Since becoming a different sect, Alawis have been persecuted by the Sunnis. This in turn has forced them to isolate themselves geographically in the rural and mountainous  25  areas near the western coast of Syria, known as the Latakia region. Today those 6  mountains are alternately known as the Alawi Mountains. Due to their social circumstances, Richard Antoun perceives the term "Alawi" as having the meaning of "a territory, a politico-economic system, a wide ranging cultural repertoire, and a history." As noted in Chapter One, experience of persecution often evokes self-awareness and creates a feeling of "us verse them". It is this experience of persecution that created a collective historical memory for the Alawis, and, combined with distinct cultural features, has made the Alawis into an ethnic group, the "other" of which are the Sunni oppressors. The process of Alawi subordination and isolation was intensified under Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Turks, Sunnis themselves, incorporated the Syrian region into their empire in 1516. The empire was divided into provinces, one of which was the Syrian region. The Ottoman administration responsible for the Syrian region was centralized in 8  Damascus, and opened the way for the local elite to be integrated into the governing institutions. As a result, the local urbanized Sunnis became the ruling elite in the Syrian province and ultimately the predominant group in Syrian society.  9  Islam was the official religion of the empire, and the Sharia was applied as the law of the- empire until the nineteenth century. The religious establishment of the empire paralleled the civil one. The non-Muslim residents were divided into four religious categories: Greek orthodox, Catholics, Armenian Gregorian and Jews. Each category was permitted to conduct its own cultural and religious life and to utilize its own legal system; yet each religious group was considered inferior to the Muslims. The Ottoman authorities conducted their relations with these minority groups through their religious leaders. The 10  Alawis were not recognized as a sect of Islam, nor as a separate religious category. They  26  were considered inferior to the four non-Muslim religious categories, and were subjected to the Sharia law and courts, which were dominated by religious Sunnis. Moreover, a special tax was imposed on them and they were subject to social discrimination and physical harassment; the authorities made no effort to ensure their security.  11  As predicted by Gurr and Harff, who claim that group cohesion is largely determined by the severity of deprivation and suppression, the Alawi response to such 12  Ottoman and Sunni social, religious and cultural persecution was to enhance group loyalty, and to retreat further into the mountains where they could be isolated from the hostile administrative and legal system. However, isolation also resulted in their lack of ability to participate in the economy. Thus, the Alawis had to settle for rural life. The extent of the retreat was so extreme that by 1920, during the French take-over from the Ottomans, only 771 Alawis out of about 175,000. lived in towns. During that era, their group name became synonymous with the term "peasant."  14  As an outcome of the Ottoman effort to modernize in the 19 century, roads and th  modern means of transportation allowed access to the isolated areas;. The centralization of political authority was further implemented and administrative and economic structures were changed,,Additionally, the Sunni elite began to acquire education. As a result of 15  the process, the Alawis could no longer live in total isolation. Yet, since they had no education, and no resources of their own, they typically worked on farms belonging to Sunni landlords for low wages. Additionally, many youngsters left home to find menial work or to join the army; young girls were sent at a very early age, sometimes at seven or eight years pld, to work in urban Sunni households. The obvious social outcome of this 16  process was an accentuation of Alawi resentments of the Sunni majority.  27  The modernization process that the Ottoman Empire underwent also affected the Sunnis. The Sunni elite benefited the most from industrialization, playing a key role in the changing local economy. Moreover, national consciousness emerged among the Sunni elite as a product of education. Accordingly, movements such as "Sons of Syria" appeared, advocating autonomy for Syria. However, the Sunnis did not benefit from modern education and industrialization evenly. Thus, the gaps between the urbanized elite and the rural, non-educated masses widened, the latter retaining loyalty to their religious or familial community.  17  The French took over in 1920.and stayed until 1946. As mentioned in Chapter One, it was often the case that colonizers favored minority groups, and intensified cleavages through divide-and-rule tactics. French rule was illegitimate in the eyes of the Sunnis, who were by now experiencing intense feelings of nationalism. The urban Sunni elite, which had governed in association with the Ottomans, was now focused on promoting, nationalism and opposing the French. The Alawis, unlike the Sunnis, 18  welcomed the French mandate because of its minority-favouring policies and its divideand-rule tactics. For example, Syria was divided into four autonomous states, one of which was the Alawi Latakia, with its own government, courts and, constitution. Thus, the Alawis were no longer under Sunni dominance. The Alawi.state enjoyed low taxation, 19  and members of the Alawi minority were promoted to key positions in institutions necessary to maintain French control, particularly the army. As observed in Chapter One, national movements were not always wholly representative of all ethnic groups. Ironically, it was the Alawis themselves who broke up Sunni demonstrations and  28  suppressed nationalist rebellions. Such collaboration with the French made the Alawis suspect in the eyes of the Sunnis and strife was widened. In 1936, the French and the Syrian nationalist movement, the majority of which were Sunnis, reached an agreement to end the mandate. Due to this agreement, Latakia lost its autonomous status and rejoined Syria. Fearing a return to life under Sunni 20  dominance, Alawi leaders petitioned several times requesting the French to remain. However, their requests were denied. Syria became officially independent in 1941, and de facto independent in 1946 with the French withdrawal. The urban Sunni elite inherited the government after the.French left. The Alawis, already subject to suspicion due to their active support of French rule, resisted submission to the. central authorities of independent Syria and conducted unsuccessful uprisings in the Latakia region in 1946 and 1952..The Sunnis, on the other hand, aimed to absorb Latakia into Syria, and they abolished Alawi institutions established during the French mandate. By 1954, the Sunnis had the upper hand in,the conflict and the Alawis had to 21  submit to the Damascus government. Asnoted in Chapter One, it was often the case that when minorities were unable to achieve self-determination,, they attempted to gain political power through existing political institutions to which they had access. A major heritage from the French period that remained unchanged was the ethnic balance in the army. The number of Alawis in the army was disproportionate to their size in society. According to Daniel Pipes, Alawis constituted. 65% of the non-commissioned officers in 195 5. Not only had the French 22  encouraged them to join, but as a degraded minority, the Alawis saw the military as the 23  only professional arena into which they could penetrate.  29  Pipes mentions several reasons why the demographic balance of the army was maintained. There was a popular perception among the Sunni bourgeoisie that the army was a place for minorities, the socially degraded and the uneducated. Accordingly, many of the Sunnis whose children were conscripted paid in order to exempt their children from the service, while the economic situation of most Alawis did not allow them to act in the same manner. In addition, the army was not seen by the Sunni leaders as an institution for the benefit of the state, but rather as a potential danger to domestic stability. Hence, its budgets were cut, and its size was kept small. Consequently, even 24  after the French withdrawal, the Alawis remained over-represented in the army. The Sunni leaders did reserve the top ranks for themselves. However, the instability that the Syrian political system experienced throughout the 1950s, and the numerous coups, resulted in large numbers of highly-ranked Sunni officers being expelled from the army. Lower-ranked Alawis rose into these vacated posts. Having advanced up the ranks in the army, the Alawis monopolized the higher positions through religious, tribal and regional solidarity; through kinship, they could ensure their own status and stability. Another institution that helped the Alawis advance was the Ba'th party, the ideology of which embraced socialism, secularism and Pan-Arabism. The party was formed in. 1953 under the leadership of Akram Hourani, a Sunni socialist, and Michel Aflaq, a Christian intellectual educated in France, where he acquired a leftist ideology. The combination of these leaders and their ideologies attracted intellectuals as well as dissatisfied peasants from the various religious and ethnic groups that comprise Syrian society. In the first free elections in Syria in 1954, the Ba'th party became the third  30  largest faction in the parliament, obtaining 10 percent of the seats and having two of its leaders named to the cabinet.  25  The secular and socialist ideology of the party, its relative success and openness to all sects made it attractive to the Alawi minority. The Ba'th party had regional 26  branches throughout Syria, but the branch in Latakia was one of the largest and most active. It was the only channel available for the Alawis to articulate their political interests. Hence, as in the army, the number of Alawi members in the Ba'th party was 27  disproportionate to their overall size in society. While the Alawis remained cohesive and were making political progress, the Sunnis were fighting among themselves for control of the state. Philip Khouri suggests that the gaps between the urbanized elite and rural elements, which had begun to emerge during the modernization process of the Ottoman Empire and intensified during the 20  th  century, produced an urban-rural gap and antagonism after independence. He describes a process of urban drift into the main cities because of the changing economic structure. These rural migrants teamed up with the existing urban poor to challenge the old established classes and demand more say in the political process. This process, together with problems of inflation, corruption and inefficient bureaucracy, produced political instability and factionalism among the Sunnis. The military manipulated Syrian political life, contributing to the instability with numerous, coup attempts. Husni al-Zaim, a military man, seized power in 1949. He in 29  turn was overthrown by another military figure, Sami al-Hinnawi, who himself lasted only four months before being deposed by Adib al-shishakli. These three figures 30  31  represented the old elite, and were replaced in 1954 by officers reflecting the new social demands. However, inner battles between officers did not allow the regime to stabilize. As mentioned in Chapter One, it was often the case that lack of cohesion of the majority group enabled the minority to increase its political power. Indeed, the instability played into the hands of the Alawis. In 1963, there was a Ba'th coup in which the Alawis played, a major role, and after which they took many of the positions in the Ba'th government. In the following three years, Alawi military and political leaders ensured that their people held key positions in the army and that the Ba'th party was flooded with members of their ethnic group, turning it into an ethnic party rather than a socialist one. The Sunni president, Amin al-Hafiz, realized that ethnic factionalism was being promoted by, the Alawis in the Ba'th party. He tried to take steps against their growing domination by discharging Alawi officers from the army. However, due to their martial strength and dominance in the Ba'th, Alawi Ba'thist officers managed to depose Al-Hafiz and take over the leadership in 1966. As noted in Chapter One, the army is an indispensable institution for providing political power and maintaining control. Once in power, the new regime, as led by commissioned Alawi officers, dismissed many Sunni officers from the army. A similar dynamic occurred in the institutions of the Ba'th party. Later on, members of other minority groups were also purged from key positions in the army and the party. Having completed their external battles, the Alawis turned to an inner one between Salah Jadid, the commander of the ground forces who ruled from 1966, and Hafiz Al-Asad, the 32  commander of the air force, who managed to defeat Jadid and take over in 197G.  32  The seizure of power by the Alawis symbolizes the complete reversal of social, economic and political roles in Syrian society. The Sunnis, who throughout Syrian history had played the role of the elite, found their state definitively taken over by the Alawis. Daniel Pipes explains the Sunni perspective:  An Alawi ruling Syria is like an untouchable becoming Maharajah in India or a Jew becoming tzar in Russia - an unprecedented development shocking to the majority population which had monopolized power for so many centuries. The rise of this despised minority signalled the complete social, economic and , political ruin of the traditional Syrian political elite. '' 3  Since 1970, the Alawis have controlled almost every military organization, unit and division in Syria. What is more, action has been taken to educate Alawis so that they have been able to occupy senior positions in the bureaucracy and state administration and not just in the army. In addition, budget revenues for infrastructure have gone to the Latakia region, including for the construction of a major university. Alawi peasants have received large tracts of land in other regions of Syria, and many have begun to move in large numbers to the big cities due to government support programs. In short, a new class 35  of rich and educated Alawis has been formed. As observed in Chapter One, the role of leaders is primary in maintaining power. It was, also mentioned that an authoritarian structure of government and a single-party rule assist in consolidating control. Asad constituted a single-party system, and laid the foundations for most of the current institutions of the state. He centralized authority in his hands and in those of his closest circle, composed mostly of Alawis, but with some exceptions. His regime relies on three major institutions; the Ba'th party and the army, both.of which, enabled the takeover of the state, and a very strong and extensive 33  bureaucracy. The Ba'th party is the "political vanguard;" the army and intelligence services are the agencies for ensuring obedience and an absence of opposition; the bureaucracy is the executive arm that holds decision-making and implementation power. At the top of the Ba'th party's hierarchy stands a body of 21 members called "The Regional Command" (where "the region" stands for Syria). Asad is the head of this body, which meets relatively often, usually once a week or fortnight. The remainder of the institutions are composed of the executive bureaus, whose functions are to supervise the ministries and government activities. There are also public institutions parallel to government ones which provide public services. Beside these, there is the party 37  congress,.which assembles every few years and consists of 770 members. Its purpose is to discuss policies, though it has no effective authority. The delegates are mostly Alawis, but there is a small representation of Sunnis and other minorities. The congress then elects a central committee (of which the regional command is a part), which is the executive arm headed by the president. Elections are pre-arranged, with candidates nominated by the ruling elite, thus ensuring their renewal of power. Students of Syria 38  39  claim that Asad's charisma has much to do with his ability to maintain this structure. Favourable, conditions for the rise of an Islamic fundamentalist opposition were established because the Ba'th party primarily served to prioritize Alawi interests, did not provide solutions to the economic difficulties of non-Alawi groups, and because the party forcefully promoted secularism. A movement named the "Muslim Brotherhood" gained wide support among rural and urban Sunnis, which enabled it to conduct violent protests against Asad's regime.. A new constitution separating religion from the state led to their first protests in 1973. A combination of suppression and a change in the constitution  34  making Islam the official religion, temporarily calmed the protests.  Later in the 1970s,  the Muslim Brotherhood renewed its activities and initiated a rebellion. Besides murders of Alawi soldiers in 1979, there were widespread strikes of professionals and merchants, violent attacks against government representatives, and mass demonstrations and rallies in major urban centers. The climax was an attempted assassination of Asad in 1980.  41  The regime reacted forcefully, especially in the Sunni towns of Aleppo and Hamah. In Hamah, a, force of the Muslim Brotherhood seized power for ten days, killing the governor and a large number of other officials. Twelve thousand soldiers, almost all of whom were Alawis, attacked the city with tanks, helicopters andfieldartillery for three consecutive weeks; much of the city was reduced to rubble, and tens of thousands of Sunnis were slaughtered.  42  Some argue that the uprising found support because of an economic crisis, and therefore should be regarded as a class issue. This argument is based on the claim that some of the Sunni bourgeoisie and middle class remained compliant. However, it is 43  important to stress that no Alawis from any class strata took part, in the rebellion. The 44  compliance of some of the middle and upper class Sunnis can be accounted for through calculations,of costs and benefits in relation to the chances of the rebellion's success. Unlike many rebels, they had too much to lose. The Muslim Brotherhood was inflamed by Islamic fundamentalist ideas, and its major goal was to institute Islamic law (the Sharia). Since the Sunnis do not see the Alawis as Muslims, abolishing their rule was viewed as necessary to achieve this goal. A large number of participants were nonobservant Muslims, as the Muslim Brotherhood co-operated with left-wing and nonfundamentalist groups in the National Alliance for the Liberation of Syria, which  3 5  operates to restore Sunni control.  Therefore, the revolt and the Hamah events should be  considered as primarily a conflict that was motivated by anti-Alawi sentiments. However, it should also be noted that the fundamentalist values of the Muslim Brotherhood impeded cohesion among the Sunnis in their fight against the Asad regime. The Hamah massacre ended the Muslim Brotherhood's attempts to revolt for some years to come, but did not erase the anti-Alawi sentiments among Sunnis. Thus, Asad's regime remains under threat of instability. As mentioned in Chapter One, it is often the case that the minority governments attempt to blur the distinctions between the minority and ..majority in.order to gain legitimacy. Asad's government has pursued several policies that are aimed at emphasizing unity and decreasing alienation. The first policy has been to promote a.Pan-Arabic ideology. Eberhard Kienle notes that the leaders of the Ba'th party define the residents of Syria as members of the Arab community.  46  Unity schemes existed prior to the Ba'th coup, including the formation of the United Arab. Republic .(UAR), a federation with Egypt in 1956. In 1958, the federation was turned into a unitary state due to pressures from Egypt. However, many Syrian leaders opposed the UAR because most of the political power was concentrated in Cairo. Consequently, opponents of the UAR conducted a coup in 1961 and restored Syrian sovereignty. The Ba'th coup in 1963 reinstated the Pan-Arabic ideology. The Alawi leaders in particular refrained from reference to a Syrian identity. Terminology such as "Arab nation" and "the Arab people of Syria," was used commonly to allude to the inhabitants of Syria. Kienle argues that unity was important to the Syrian leaders because of the Israeli threat. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that having been a 47  despised minority for years, and after attempting to maintain a separate status and secede  36  from Syria, it would have been unreasonable for the Alawis to have expected to be regarded as being Syrian, something the Sunnis claim to be. It made more sense for the Alawi regime to legitimize itself through the idea that all Arabs were members of one nation. As members of the entire Arab community, Asad's regime has attempted to stress a common strategic goal for all Arabs. Several scholars claim that the regime's legitimacy has rested in a large part on tension with Israel. This is especially true after 48  the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in the late 1970s. Asad's regime has boasted that it is the major force left defending the Arab cause in its conflict with Israel. Raymond Hinnebusch suggests that in the 1990s, Asad's power has been consolidated to the extent that his monopoly over foreign policy allows him to participate in the peace process. Hinnebusch argues that the Syrian presence in the Madrid convention in the early 1990s indicates that the risks to the stability of the regime due to involvement in the peace process have been declining. On the grounds that many Arab countries have normalized their relations with Israel, including, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Qman, Qatar and the Palestinians, Hinnebusch suggests that Asad can no longer present his regime as a leader in the conflict. He does, however, acknowledge that 49  peace with Israel could mean a decline in the importance and the dominance of the army in Syrian politics. Since the army plays a primary role in ensuring the regime's stability, 50  a decline in its dominance could be of immense concern to Asad. Furthermore, a process of normalization of its relations with Israel implies that Israel no longer poses a potential threat to Syria. However, the existence of an external threat to Arab nationalism, real or not, has been instrumental to the regime's ability to unite the people and legitimize itself.  37  Another important policy that has assisted the survival of the regime, has been the liberalization of the economy. In its early days, the regime attempted to implement its socialist ideology. The economy was run by the central government in Damascus and the party. There were strict restrictions regarding the accumulation of private capital, private investment in industry and foreign investment. The concentration of economic decisionmaking power meant that most of the population relied on government salaries. This burden was too much for the government and Syria experienced an economic crisis. Additionally,.there was intense pressure from the bourgeoisie elite to decrease the state monopoly on foreign investment and permit a more liberal market. Consequently, some reforms were introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The regime downgraded the role of the party and socialist intervention in the economy, and allowed more freedom to the market and international trade. Moreover, the executive bureaus that hold decisionmaking, power in economic issues opened their doors to some members of the business class, who can now influence the decision-making process. Furthermore, the income tax system was changed from a highly progressive one to a range of 10% to 45%. The regime also permitted the private sector to provide employment.  31  Even so, in 1995 the  government still employed 31% of the working population. Nevertheless, by 52  implementing these reforms, Asad has managed to mitigate some of the opposition among members of the business class and the bourgeoisie, of which the Sunnis are a prominent .part. This policy signals to the middle and upper social strata that the regime is pursuing a general interest rather than an Alawi one. An additional step taken to decrease alienation was to create of appearance of Sunni participation in governance by placing Sunni figures in high symbolic positions  38  that nevertheless lack any authority. The vice president and the defense minister are examples. Additionally, the regime tries to stress its devotion to Islam. Asad began to 34  act in accordance with Muslim tradition by attending mosque services, an act not normally performed by Alawis, and by building a multitude of new mosques. Although it is not clear whether the Sunnis are convinced by Asad's policies, his regime now is the most stable one independent Syria has ever had. It is almost impossible to determine whether the regime has managed to decrease the tension between the Sunni majority and the Alawi minority. Three factors, however, can, serve as indicators of decline of hostility towards Asad's regime. Thefirstis the absence of substantial ethnic opposition,to the regime since the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although it could be argued that the brutal way in which the regime responded to the rebellion has deterred potential challengers, it seems likely that after more than thirty years of Alawi rule, the Sunni majority wouldfinda way to express its resentment had it not come to terms with Asad's minority rule. After all, the Hutu majority in Burundi has, not stopped challenging the regime,even though .it has been subjected to harsher responses from the Tutsidominated army. The second indicator is the release of many political prisoners. Asad's regime has continued for over twenty years to detain thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial. Yet, since the early 1990s, there have been mass releases of thousands of Syria's political prisoners. In December 1995, some 1,200 political prisoners in Syria were 55  released pursuant to an amnesty marking the 25th anniversary of the rule of Asad. It was widely reported that most, if not all, of the released prisoners were members or supporters  39  of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is estimated that about 4,000 political prisoners are still S7  incarcerated. The third indicator is the willingness of members of the Sunni elite to participate in governance, even in positions that'are symbolic and without political power. The inclusion of bourgeoisie Sunnis in the bureaucratic agencies and their involvement in the decision-making process on economic issues further stresses this point. On the other hand, the decline in the dominance of the three institutions that the regime relies upon: the party and the bureaucracy, due to reforms, and of the army, due to the peace process, could destabilization of the regime, although the .process of reformation is reversible. Likewise, political succession to Asad could provide a challenge. This would be a test to the Ba'thist Pan-Arabic ideology and to whether Asad's regime has managed in fact, to establish unity, or rather has only constructed a thin veneer over Sunni-Alawi hostility. Fuad I. Khuri, "The Alawis of Syria: Religious Ideology and Organization," in Richard T. Antoun and Donald Quataert (eds), Syria: Society Culture and Polity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), p.53; and Daniel Pipes, Greater Syria: the History oj an Ambition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 159. 1  2  Khuri, pp.53-56.  ' The Muslim faith as perceived by Sunnis obliges its followers to carry out five categories of duties called "the five pillars." The first is to proclaim their faith that "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." The second duty is to pray five times a day between sunrise and sunset. The third pillar is the duty to donate food or money to the poor. The fourth pillar obliges the followers to fast during the month of Ramadan. Finally, a Muslim is obliged to make a pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca at least once in'a lifetime. 3  4  Pipes, pp. 159-164. (see endnote # 1)  5  Ibid.  6  Ibid.  Richard T. Antoun, "Ethnicity, Clientship, and Class: Their Changing Meaning," in Antoun and Quataert, p. 10. 7  40  Ehud Toledano, "The Emergence of Ottoman-Local Elites (1700-1900): A Framework for Research," in Moshe Ma'oz and I lan Pappe (eds), Middle Eastern Politics and Ideas: A History From Within (London: Tauris Academic Studies, 1997), p. 150. Ibid., pp. 150-155.  9  10  Don Peretz, The Middle East Today (Connecticut: Praeger, 1994), pp.54-61.  11  Pipes, pp. 164-165.  Ted Robert Gurr and Barbara Harff, Ethnic Conflicts in World Politics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), pp.78-83. 12  13  Raymond Hinnebusch, "Class and State in Ba'thist Syria," in Antoun and Quataert, p.32.  14  Pipes, pp. 164-165.  15  Peretz, pp.65-67.  16  Pipes, pp.164-165.  Moshe Ma'oz, "Attempts to Create a Political Community in Modern Syria," in Ma'oz and Pappe, pp.213-214. 17  18  Philip S. Khoury, "Syrian Political Culture: A Historical Perspective," in Antoun and Quataert,  pp.20-22. 19  Pipes, pp.164-165; and Peretz, pp.403.  20  Pipes, pp,166-167; and Khoury, pp. 20-22.  21  Pipes, pp. 168-169.  22  Ibid:.  2  ' Khoury, p.27.  24  Pipes, pp.168-169.  25  Peretz, pp.413-415.  26  Pipes, pp. 169-170.  Michael Van Dusen, "Syria: Downfall of a Traditional Elite," in Frank Tachau (ed.), Political Elites and Political Development in the Middle East (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman Publishing Company Inc., 1975),, pp. 137-139. 27  28  Khoury, pp.25-26.  29  Van Dusen, pp.116-117.  30  Peretz, p.411.  41  3 1  Van Dusen, pp.116-117.  3 2  Pipes, pp. 170-175.  3 3  Van Dusen, p.l 15.  3 4  Pipes, pp.175-178.  3 5  Ibid.  3 6  Derek Hopwood, Syria: 1945-1986, Politics and Society (London: Unwin Hayman, 1988), p.93.  3 7  Patrick Seale, "Assad: Between Institutions and Autocracy," in Antoun and Quataert, pp.97-  3 8  Hopwood, pp.93-94.  3 9  Seale, pp. 109-110.  110.  Raymond Hinnebusch, Authoritarian power and State Formation in Ba 'thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant (San Francisco: Westview Press, 1990), pp.276-277. 4 0  4 1  Pipes, p.182.  The exact number of massacred is contested, but is estimated to have been between ten thousand and thirty thousand. See for example, Hinnebusch, "Class and State," pp. 42-44. 4 2  4 3  Ibid.  4 4  Pipes, p. 181.  4 5  Ibid., pp. 181-184.  Eberhard Kienle, "Arab Unity Schemes Revisited: Interest, Identity and Policy in Syria and Egypt," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.27, No.l (1995), pp.53-71. 4 6  4 7  Ibid., p.67.  See for example, Raymond Hinnebusch, "Syria: The Politics of Peace and Regime Survival," Middle East Policy Vol.3, No.4 (1995), pp.74-87. Also Patrick Seale, "Asad's Regional Strategy and the Challenges from Netanyahu," Journal of Palestine Studies Vol.26, No. 1, pp.27-41. 4 8  4 9  Hinnebusch, "Syria: The Politics of Peace," pp.74-77.  5 0  Ibid.  'Raymond Hinnebusch, "Syria: The Politics of Economic Liberalization," Third World Quarterly, Vol. 18, No.2 (June 1997), pp.249-265 and "Asad's Syria and the New World Order: The Struggle for Regime Survival," Middle East Policy, Vol.2, No.l (1993), pp. 1-14 5  These figures are presented by Jim Lederman, "Economics of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process," Orbis Vol.30, No.4 (1995), pp.549-566. 5 2  42  Hinnebusch, "Syria: The Politics of Economic Liberalization,"; and "Asad's Syria." 54  Pipes, pp. 181-184.  5 5  Human Rights Watch, European Parliament Should Condition EC Aid on Human Rights  Improvements (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993). Human Rights Watch, Dissent Still Hostage to a Legacy of Terror (New York: Human Ri Watch, 1996). 56  Ill  THE CASE OF BURUNDI In Burundi, the Tutsi minority, estimated to constitute between 15% to 20% of  Burundi's population, rules over a hostile Hutu majority, estimated to constitute between 80%) to 85%) of the population. About 1% of the population is Twa, who are marginal in the political discourse. Since 1956, during the Belgian colonial period, no official census 1  that surveys ethnic affiliations has been made. Thus, these estimations of the ethnic distribution, rely on the Belgian data. However, it is uncontested that the six million inhabitants residing in the 28,000-sq. kilometers of Burundi live in the most densely populatedxountry in Africa, along with Rwanda. Of the three cases, minority rule in Burundi has been the. least stable and the most illegitimate in the eyes of the majority. Despite living side by side for a long period without, salient tensions, the Hutu and Tutsi have come to be extremely hostile in the 20  th  century. The Belgian colonizers have been blamed for establishing strict hierarchical relations, rbetween the groups, and thus for causing conflict. Since independence, the 3  level of hostility between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority has been rising because of numerous mass killings, which have often been referred to as genocides. Government 4  policies aiming, to create unity have failed, as the Tutsi-dominated army, which plays a leading role in the politics of Burundi, has been fighting almost continuously against organized; Hutu resistance. The dominance of the army in the politics of Burundi has made Hutu politicians reluctant to participate in power-sharing governments. Some of those Hutu politicians have joined insurgency groups. The combination of all these factors,, combined with the continuous fighting, has intensified the hatred between the groups, and has made Tutsi rule the least stable of the three minority regimes.  .  44  In order to understand the complexity of the Hutu-Tutsi relationship, it is important to examine its history, and how the two distinct identities came into being. Scholars studying the history of Burundi have noted the lack of documented evidence. An oral tradition exists, making it all the more difficult to distinguish between facts and myths. This is especially true for the pre-colonial period. However, colonial literature on Burundi also raises difficulties due to the distortions that result from the western understanding of events. The following paragraphs attempt to delineate the historical 5  events in Burundi that are relevant to the explanation of minority rule. About a thousand years ago, the Hutu, coming from central Africa, settled in the region to work the land. The Tutsi moved in during the 15 and 16 century from the th  th  north, fleeing famine and drought. Evidence of the relatively smooth integration of the groups; can. be found in the fact that not much distinguishes them. They share the same language, Kirundi, and the. same culture, and they belong to joint clans. Rene Lemarchand notes that, traditionally, they had collective commitments to the monarchical institutions. Peter Uvin writes that "there are very few cases in the world of different 6  ethnic groups sharing so many of the same characteristics." However, physical 7  characteristics differentiate the two groups: the Tutsi are said to be unusually tall, similar in looks to the Galla tribes of southern Ethiopia; the Hutu are described as generally "short andstocky," resembling other Bantu tribes of central Africa. The relationship 8  :/  between the Hutu and Tutsi are characterized by social inequalities. The major historical distinction is occupational. In general, Tutsis were cattle owners, while Hutus were peasants,, As. the Tutsi entrusted the Hutu with their cattle, a patron-client relationship developed between the groups, the Tutsi attaining patron rights over the Hutu.  45  Anthropologists and historians have noted that ethnicity and social status were not totally correlated and that the hierarchical relations were not strict. Mobility existed, mixed marriages were not uncommon, and the Hutu enjoyed extensive autonomy. In addition, some Hutu lineages had been perceived as royal, and have entitled their members to chiefly positions. Nevertheless, over the years, the term Hutu gained the 9  meaning of "social subordinate" in the Kirundi language. Accordingly, even a Tutsi would be referred Hutu when in a socially inferior position. To make things even 10  more complex, both Hutu and Tutsi are divided. among themselves into clans and dynasties of various statuses. For example, the Tutsi community is divided into two groups: Banyaruguru and Hima. These groups have been traditionally differentiated by social status. The Banyaruguru have enjoyed a higher social status due to their historical connection with the royal family.  11  In the traditional society, the princely elite, members of the Tutsi, held the social power;in a'political structure of a feudal kingdom. Generally speaking, Barundi (the collective reference to the inhabitants of Burundi) from all ethnic groups identified with the monarchial order. However, occasionally there was widespread social discontent due to oppression and high taxation. It should also be mentioned that there were struggles 12  for power among various dynasties and royal claimants. Thus, on the eve of the colonial period, .Burundi was divided into four distinct regions under the control of various Tutsi princes. Based on this heritage of relationships between the groups, the Tutsi of today believe,in their historical right to be the rulers, while the Hutu claim that they have always been subject to Tutsi oppression.  46  Germany annexed Burundi and Rwanda in 1889, calling the region German East Africa. The Germans ruled indirectly through the various princes and local chiefdoms. The princes, in turn, tried to manipulate the German authorities into increasing their territories at the expense of their rivals. In 1916, Belgium seized Burundi. From 1925, it was administered with the Belgian Congo as a League of Nations trust territory, continuing the.German system of indirect rule through native princes. In 1929, for the purpose of administrative efficiency and in an attempt to resolve unrest, the political order was changed and authority was centralized in a modern structure of administration. As mentioned in Chapter One, it was often the case that the colonizing powers created tensions between ethnic groups by favoring the minorities. It was also mentioned that thecolonialists supplied the minorities with the tools with which they could rule in a :  modern state structure. The Belgians unified a number of traditionally independent Hutu chiefdoms.. into a larger administrative entity, in which the officeholders were mainly members of the Tutsi group. Consequently, the Tutsi status as a ruling elite was consolidated. Members of the Tutsi minority were promoted to key positions in the administration and the army. A divide-and-rule. policy obliged all Barundi to carry identification papers, stating their ethnic affiliation. It is during this period of colonialism that ethnicity and class became totally overlapping. According to Uvin, 31 out of 33 members of the "Conseil Superieur du Pays" were Tutsi, as were, all 45 chiefdoms and 544 out of 559 sub-chiefdoms. He notes that an ideology based on the racial superiority 13  of the-Tutsi was introduced by the Belgians to justify their policies.  •  This, in turn,  intensified ethnic strife. J. Bayo Adekange claims that the policy of the Belgian colonizers imposed "a neo-feudal state, founded on rigid dichotomy between 'Tutsi lords'  47  and 'Hutu serfs'... creating a big cleavage between the Tutsi as a class of rulers and the Hutu as a class that was ruled." Similarly, Rhoda Howard argues that the conflict today 14  should be perceived as one between two status groups.  15  Rebellions broke out on several occasions during the period of Belgian rule. They were inspired by economic depression, rising levels of taxation and oppressive rule, and were directed not only against the Belgians, but also against the Tutsi, who were perceived as being devoted to the Belgian colonizers. As noted in Chapter One, in some cases, minorities did not participate in the fight against the colonizers, aiming to preserve their advantaged position. Historians argue that the rebellion of 1934 was almost solely conducted by Hutu and Twa. The Tutsi were mostly in charge of suppressing the 16  rebellion. Due to rising pressures, the Belgians had to reform the political system and prepare, it for,their departure. However, they insisted that the transformation of authority to existing elites was the only way accomplish the reform. Ultimately, the Belgian policy meant that the power would be transferred to the Tutsi chiefs. In the late 1950s, two 17  political parties of rival Tutsi dynasties were formed: Parti de l'Union et du Progres National (UPRONA) and Parti Democrate Chretien (PDC). While the PDC represented the interests of the Tutsi elite and. was perceived as co-operating with the Belgians, the UPRONA Party was a proponent of nationalism and the unity of all Barundi regardless of ethnic background, and aspired to independence. Although the Hutu were not organized into political parties, the UPRONA leadership incorporated members of the Hutu group. Accordingly, most Hutu supported UPRONA and its leader, Lois Rwagasore, the son of  48  the reigning king, Mwambutsa IV. His political platform of unity and economic progress for all social strata appealed to them. In 1961, UPRONA won the UN-supervised elections. It gained 80% of the votes cast, winning 58 seats in the legislative body out of a total of 64. Independence of a joint Ruanda-Urundi state under the Tutsi monarchy was achieved in 1962. However, Rwagasore,, who, was seen by most of the population as the symbol of unification, was assassinated as a result of a PDC conspiracy after serving only a fortnight as Prime Minister, and was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Andre Muhirwa. With the death of Rwagasore, the hope for national unity also died. •  In Rwanda there was a Hutu uprising against the Tutsi monarchy, lasting from  1959 until 1962. The Hutu objected to their exclusion from the decision-making arena, which they perceived as undemocratic. The uprising turned into a revolution, initially 18  against the Tutsi chiefs and later against the monarchy. The revolution took a shape of a large-scale massacre, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 20,000, most of whom were Tutsis, and> creating about 160,000 refugees. Due to the loss of control, Burundi and 19  Rwanda were separated later on in 1962. Rwanda became a republic dominated by the Hutu majority, while separate Burundi became a constitutional monarchy. Tutsi attempts to regain control in Rwanda in the early 1960s resulted in massacres of a genocidal nature 20  against the Tutsis. • - , The events in Rwanda affected Burundi. In Chapter One, it was argued that it was :  r  often the case that an experience of persecution motivated minorities to seek political power to,ensure their safety. The experience of persecution of their brethren across the border provided a basis for Tutsi fear of Hutu domination in Burundi. The ethnic tensions  49  reached their climax in 1965. Owing to Rwagasore's legacy, Hutus were active in the UPRONA and the government. However, the flooding of Burundi with Tutsi refugees, and Tutsi active support, sponsored by the monarchy, for insurgencies against the Hutu government in Rwanda led to the rise of ethnic tensions in the ruling UPRONA Party and violence in the streets of Bujumbura. In January 1965, the Hutu prime minister, Pierre Ngendanduma,. was murdered by Tutsi refugees. Due to rising tensions, the Crown increased its involvement in politics and concentrated more power in its hands, attempting to, mitigate the hostilities. After the murder of Ngendanduma, elections were held, in which the Hutu, mostly from UPRONA, won 23 seats out of a total of 33 in the National Assembly. Accordingly, the Hutu felt that the king should have appointed a 2i  Hutu prime minister. However, since this was not the case, Hutu members of the army and gendarme, inspired by the success of their brethren across the border, attempted a coup against the monarchy in October 1965, which failed. Until its growing involvement in politics, and the revolution in Rwanda, the monarchy had been a shared symbol of unity. By late 1965, however, the crown had lost its status in the eyes of the Hutu, as the attempted Hutu coup indicated.. As mentioned, the greater the number of violent incidents, the higher the tensions, and the less legitimate minority rule becomes in the eyes of the majority. Bayo Adekange notes that following these events, the Hutu began to perceive the monarchy and Tutsi minority rule as an illegitimate extension of the colonial period. Accordingly, they viewed state institutions dominated by the Tutsi, including the army, most of the officers of which were Tutsi, as illegitimate. Thus, rather than remain the army, in which they composed most of the rank-and-file, and  50  government, the Hutu formed independent militias to fight the minority regime for control of the state in a zero-sum game.  22  Following the failed coup, the Tutsi leadership ethnically "cleansed" the UPRONA party and the army. Many Hutu politicians and members of the army were shot to death or imprisoned. As mentioned in Chapter One, in order for minorities to attain and/or maintain control of the state, they need to be dominant in the leading institutions of the state, particularly the army. Through its dominance in the army and the UPRONA, the Tutsi minority consolidated its control of the state. Independent Hutu militias in turn retaliated with terrorist attacks against. Tutsi soldiers and civilians. The Tutsi response was massive killings of Hutu civilians in regions of Hutu opposition. These killings were 23  conducted by Tutsi civilian groups, organized by the army.  .  Ensuring its rule, the Tutsi military government felt discontented with the Crown's involvement in state affairs. Consequently, in 1966, the monarchy was abolished. This action deprived the country of a potentially stabilizing arbiter between the groups. Michel Micombero, who until then had served as prime minister, deposed the king and proclaimed a republic with himself as president. His military government abolished the.National Assembly, restructured the party and the government, and introduced a new institution that centralized most of the political authority. This institution was the National Revolutionary Council (NRC), which was headed by Micombero,,,who. also served as head of the UPRONA, and consisted of seventeen army officers, only three of which were Hutu. In Micombero's cabinet, only three ministers out of fourteen were Hutu: the Minister of Information, the Minister of Social Affairs and the Minister of Communication. In 1968, Micombero introduced a policy that excluded 24  51  Hutu army recruits, and in 1968-69, more Hutu officers were executed, intensifying the hostility between the groups, but prolonging and strengthening the domination of the Tutsi minority in the army. In 1972, another Hutu insurgency occurred, resulting in the death of several thousand Tutsi. The retaliation of the government took the form of genocide. Micombero proclaimed martial law and his armed forces killed tens of thousands of Hutu, regardless of whether, or not they were involved in the uprising, and executed Hutu leaders. An estimated 150,000 Hutu refugees fled or were forced out of Burundi to neighboring countries. Educated people, perceived by the Tutsi to be a particular source of danger, 25  were targeted. Many Hutu soldiers suffered a similar fate.Lemarchand notes that "Fear of an impending Hutu-instigated slaughter of all. Tutsi men, women and childrenintensified_ by. lingering memories of what happened in Rwanda in 1959-1962—certainly 26  played a crucial part in transforming the repression into a genocide."  ••  In addition, steps  were taken to limit the activities of the Roman Catholic Church, which the regime perceived to be interfering. The impact of this genocide on Burundi society cannot be exaggerated.-Left without an educated elite and having had its soldiers killed, the Hutu were excluded from, university,, the. civil service and. the army, and were reduced to a status of a subclass. Following these events, the country was declared a one-party state, with Micombero serving as president and prime minister, and authority was centralized in the hope of achieving stability. . . . In 1976,. Micombero was overthrown by Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who intensified the centralization of authority under military rule and strengthened Tutsi domination by building up the Tutsi-dominated army. Bagaza's rule was typified by the  52  use of threat and force, and he excluded the participation of Hutu in government institutions. By the end of his reign in 1987, only two Hutu members in the 65 member Central Committee of the UPRONA remained. In 1979, the UPRONA charter made the party the supreme institution of the state. Bagaza's major declared goal, however, was to restore national unity. As mentioned in Chapter One, in order to gain legitimacy, minority regimes often attempt to institute a supra-ethnic unity, and thereby blur the distinctions between the groups. During the years 1976-87, the Bagaza government forbade any reference to the group names "Hutu" and "Tutsi". By doing so, the minority regime 27  attempted to. erase, ethnicity and create a unified identity for all Barundi. Furthermore, Kirundi became the only language used for teaching in schools. However, this meant that the Hutu masses had no access to the French language spoken by the Tutsi elite. This perpetuated the social stratification in which the Tutsi were the educated elite. In 1986, only a third,of university students were Hutu  2 8  Bagaza intended the state and the party to be extensively involved in the lives of the citizens and to exercise tight control, including in the rural areas. A major obstacle to achieving this goal was the role the Catholic Church played in education and welfare. The regime's hostility towards the Church dated from the Church's earlier role in the revolution,in.Rwanda. Bagaza restricted Church activity, and in 1977 his government banned the broadcasting of religious broadcasts and shut down Church schools while bringing elementary education under state control. In 1986, state control of education expanded to include secondary schools. Factionalism among the Tutsi elite emerged due to extensive corruption and discontent with the regime's policies and aggression. In 1987, Major Pierre Buyoya,  53  another Tutsi, overthrew Bagaza. President Buyoya initiated political reform in an attempt to accommodate Hutu elites, particularly from the newly-born Burundi Democratic Front Party (FRODEBU), into the country's leadership. Reyntjens notes that this party was created in 1986 "mainly as a response to the authoritarian rule and human rights abuses under the Bagaza regime." As noted in Chapter One, in order to legitimize 29  themselves,' minority regimes often introduce policies that aim at mitigating the hostility between the groups. Buyoya freed hundreds of Hutu political prisoners, attempted to normalize relations with the Church by lifting most of the restrictions imposed on it by the previous regime, and changed the Tutsi-benefiting education system. However, these policies did not prevent yet another Hutu revolt in 1988 that led to tens of thousands of deaths and refugees from both sides. The outburst was largely due to the reluctance of  OA local Tutsi officials to implement Buyoya's policies. After the forceful suppression of the uprising, Buyoya continued to pursue unifying policies.-As observed in Chapter One, minority regimes often attempt to co-opt leaders, from, the majority in order to gain legitimacy. Buyoya appointed a Hutu, Adrien Sibomana, as prime minister and tried to establish a national unity style of governance by further Hutu appointments to other ministerial posts. He also established a "National Committee to Study the Question of National Unity," comprising 12 Hutu members and 12 Tutsi. His reforms continued in the early 1990s and were explicitly designed to 31  overcome.the.legacy of.ethnic violence. The plan was to build long-term stability by providing incentives for Hutus to forget the ethnic dimension of politics and to co-opt them into the government and the ruling UPRONA. Many Hutus were skeptical of Buyoya's intentions. However, the failure of Hutu uprisings in 1988 and 1991 presented  54  them with no serious alternative but participation in Buyoya's reform policy. Most Tutsi understood that some degree of reform was necessary to stabilize Burundi's society. Accordingly, a new constitution was approved by a referendum in 1992. The constitution aimed to guarantee national unity by banning dividing ideologies, obliging all political parties to include candidates from both ethnic groups, and subscribing all political actors and parties, to the "National Unity Charter," dedicated to embracing Burundian cultural unity.  32  In, accordance with his reform policy, President Buyoya initiated democratic elections in 1993. The assumption of the Tutsi elite was that Buyoya and the reformed, but still Tutsi-dominated, UPRONA would win the elections. The new constitution did not ensure power-sharing or a federal arrangement, and it gave the president considerable power: he could rule by decree, appoint and discharge the prime minister, the cabinet and senior military and civil officials. Constitutional amendments were to be initiated by the president and required approval by an 80% majority vote in the national assembly. Edward McMahon refers to this as "zero-sum governing structure," reinforcing the presumption that President Buyoya and the UPRONA were convinced they would win the elections. However, they lost to the Hutu-dominated party, FRODEBU, which 33  gained.80%,of the seats. For the first time in the history of Burundi, the key decision34  makers, including the newly elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, were Hutus. The high turnout of 97.3% indicates the immense interest of Burundi society in the elections. . As noted in Chapter One, maintaining an authoritarian regime is essential for the persistence of minority rule. The loss of UPRONA in the elections brought Reyntjens to  55  the following conclusion regarding the importance of non-democratic mechanisms and the single party rule to the persistence of the minority regime:  The former single party (de jure since 1966) comfortably survived three Coups and several massive killings, of which the one in 1972 was of genocidal nature, but was almost blown away by the first democratic exercise since 1965. This simply confirms that UPRONA had little or no popular support as a national party, being rather the instrument to legitimize and organize the monopolization of power in the hands of Tutsi elite. 35  However, the democratic period lasted only a hundred days, as the all-Tutsi army staged a coup to reverse the verdict of the poles. Their claim was that the vote was largely along ethnic lines, and therefore contradicted the constitution. They based their claim on the fact that the winning Hutu party received its greatest support from the provinces in which the Hutu outnumber the Tutsi. In addition, they point to the exact correlation between the,ethnic representation in.the National Assembly, elected in a proportional representation system, and the demographic distribution: 85% Hutu as opposed to 15% Tutsi.  36  The response of the international community and the United States to the coup was to suspend all economic and military aid that was initially promised to Burundi to aid the transition,to democracy. ,The immediate Hutu response to the coup was large-scale 37  massacres, reinforcing the long-standing Tutsi fear that majority rule would mean ethnic tyranny. Their sense of physical insecurity in the possible absence of a Tutsi-dominated army was heightened following the deaths of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in 1994 in a plane crash that led to the genocide in Rwanda, where Tutsi do not make up the bulk, of the,.army. The Burundi Army was highly politicized and intervened in state 38  56  matters; thus, it provided a security referent for the minority group. The result of these events and fears was three years of political turmoil expressed through civil war, the rise of Tutsi extremist youth gangs and the unprecedented emergence of a strong Hutu insurgency. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed since the coup and half a million people have been forced to abandon their homes.  40  Under the guidance of the U.N Secretary-General's special representative in Burundi,, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, a power-sharing arrangement for the political institutions was reached in January 1994. In his testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations and the House of Representatives International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Townsend Friedman, special coordinator for Rwanda and Burundi in the U.S Department of State, characterized the situation as "precarious," but saw a ''glimmer of hope" in this power-sharing arrangement. This approach exemplifies 41  common misperceptions of the international community regarding the state of affairs in Burundi, and its underestimation of the role of the security forces. As mentioned in Chapter.One, in cases of minority rule, the army plays a leading role in politics. In Burundi, the state institutions were powerless, while real authority resided in the hands of the Tutsi-dominated army., For this reason, many of the Hutu politicians who participated in the power-sharing arrangement resigned from their positions and joined the various Hutu rebel groups. This includes the former interior minister, Leonard Nyangoma, who joined the,largest and best organized insurgent group, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD). This misconception of the international community is further stressed in a report of the UN Commission on Human Rights that, in an attempt to  57  analyze the instability in Burundi, focuses on the lack of cooperation between the UPRONA and FRODEBU at the government level but ignores the army.  42  By late 1995 it seemed as if the Hutu rebels would be victorious. They had begun to dominate the northwest provinces, raided the capital, Bujumbura, and launched scattered raids in areas of the country that were previously peaceful. In addition to the CNDD, other major rebel groups included the PALIPEHUTU, which enjoyed most of its support in the northwest, and the National Liberation Front (FROLINA), which was strongest in the east. Both of these latter groups were considered extremist in their antiTutsi ideology. The CNDD, considered to be more pragmatic, and its armed wing, the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD), had established local administrative structures in the northwest and north where they still enjoy large support. The various groups • competed against each other for supremacy among the Hutu population. As mentioned in Chapter One, lack of cooperation between political leaders of the majority group assists in the persistence of minority rule. In the case of Burundi, this not only prevented group cohesion, but also resulted in these .groups fighting amongst themselves. Not being able to focus on their collective goal, their inner battles enabled 43  the Tutsis to.stabilize their control. Indeed, on July 25 1996, the Tutsis managed through a coup d'etat to regain control of Burundi due to their dominance in the army and the lack of cohesion among the Hutu rebels. Buyoya became the president for the second time and justified his return by the need to restore order. He announced the formation of an interim government for three years, the purpose of which was to stabilize the country and stop the fighting. In a space of three weeks from that day, more than 6,000 people were reportedly killed in  58  various parts of Burundi. Between February and September 1996, the Burundian 44  authorities forced an estimated 350,000 to 500,000 Hutu civilians to leave their homes and live in camps, creating a new category of displaced persons known as "regroupment." This policy was a part of a long-term military strategy intended to undermine support for Hutu insurgents. After remaining relatively quiet in the first 45  months after Buyoya regained power, the rebels, the CNDD in particular, stepped up their military activities, trying to regain control of the northern provinces bordering Rwanda.  46  In Chapter One, it was argued that in many cases, lack of security leads groups to isolate, themselves geographically. This is usually a result of violent experiences that intensify the hostility and make the distinguishing identities salient. One of the consequences of the violent events in Burundi was the redrawing of the ethnic map. From a society in which Hutu and Tutsi lived side-by-side in both urban and rural areas, members of both groups have been retreating to areas and refugee camps in which their respective group is the majority. Lemarchand notes that "The general pattern that is emerging is one in which the Hutu hold the hills, while the Tutsi seek refuge in the towns." ,,.... 47  President Buyoya is still in power today and is under intense pressure from neighboring African nations to stop the bloodshed. On July 31, 1996, African leaders from.Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zaire and Ethiopia met in Arusha, Tanzania, and reached a resolution, imposing economic sanctions on Burundi and calling for ;  48  immediate peace talks to be mediated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. The purpose of the sanctions was twofold. First, they were intended to be a security measure for, existing regimes in Africa, conveying a message that coups are  59  unacceptable.  Second, they were intended to show that neighboring states perceive  Tutsi-domination in Burundi to be the source of the problems, as it had too often been marked by massacres and massive refugee flows. Such sanctions were to hit hardest on the Tutsi economic elite. The sanctions brought about shortages of oil and difficulties in exporting crops of coffee, the major source of Burundi's foreign exchange. However, the sanctions had no. significant direct economic effect on the Hutu rebels. Furthermore, the CNDD and its leader Nyangoma had been recognized as the legitimate representative of the Hutu, opposition and the key actor in negotiations for a settlement. Accordingly, the leaders of FRODEBU, realizing that the lack of Hutu cohesion was a primary obstacle in overcoming the minority regime, called for all Hutu people to recognize CNDD as their representatiye... Yet,. not really surprisingly, the more extremist PALIPEHUTU and FROLiNA continued to operate independently.  50  As-mentioned in Chapter One, often minorities seek to gain and/or maintain state control because either they do not want to lose their advantaged position, and/or because of historical experiences they fear that majority rule will compromise their security. The Tutsis are not willing to give up their rule for two main reasons: (1) based on the cultural heritage of Burundi, they believe in their historic right to rule; (2) they believe that they would be. subjected to the tyranny of the majority group, and that given the chance, the v  Hutus would kill them. They point to the history of Hutu massacres of Tutsis, including the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and use this history as a reference to what they view as the inevitable outcome of majority Hutu rule. Thus far, the Tutsis have rejected any type of settlement that might compromise their security and might give Hutus control of the army or,authority over the government. Conversely, they have doubled the size of the 51  60  army from approximately 20,000 troops to 40,000 troops, all Tutsi, by recruiting students, women and children as young as 10 years old, and they have extensively acquired arms. The regime has also armed Tutsi civilians, implementing a "civil selfdefense" program, initiated in response to a Hutu attack on civilians in the southern part of the country. As an ICG (International Crisis Group)reportindicates, Burundi's relationship with other countries in the region has been damaged due to the economic sanctions. Consequently, the Tutsi do not see the former Tanzanian president as a neutral mediator, and they point an accusatory finger at their neighbors for providing military and financial aid to the .insurgents. Thus, the whole regional peace process is fragile.  The rest of the  international community recognizes Nyerere as the principal mediator. The ICG report notes that "the UN Security Council, referring to Resolution 1072 of 30 August 1996, condemned the overthrow of the legitimate government, demanded the immediate return to constitutional government and the start of negotiations and reconfirmed its support for President Nyerere's continued regional diplomacy efforts."  54  However, beyond this  symbolic act, it seems that, the international community has remained passive. In a briefing to the UN Security Council, David Bryer, representing Oxfam International, a network of ten NGOs, characterizes the reaction of the international community as "a policy vacuum." He goes on to say, accusingly, that "having failed to prevent or halt the genocide, despite all the warning signs, the international community's sole response to the aftermath of genocide was to launch a vast relief effort. Humanitarian action was used as a substitute for political action. This policy vacuum continues."  55  61  The neighboring countries decided in April 1997 to improve their relations with President Buyoya and attempt a more reconciliatory approach. Accordingly, they eased the economic sanctions. This had a positive impact on the peace negotiations and resulted in the signing of the Rome Accords between the CNDD and the Buyoya's government on 10 May 1997, the purpose of which was to start talks to restore peace and democracy in Burundi. In addition, Buyoya declared that he would dismantle the regroupment camps and allow the safe return of the refugees to Burundi. In September 1997, however, the situation deteriorated again due to comments made by Nyerere against the Tutsi government, leading to its alienation. The Burundi government, - in turn, accused Nyerere of partiality. Various envoys of the UN, the European Union and the United States were unsuccessful in attempting to help reach solutions.  56.  Another attempt to.bring the parties in conflict to the negotiating table occurred at a summit in Arusha, where negotiations took place for six days in June 1998. Some agreement was.reached regarding procedures and agenda-setting for further negotiation. However, the various parties ended up internally divided due to the agreement. Thus, while a faction of the CNDD embraced the agreement, a second faction denounced it and declared that the CNDD was not bound to its implementation. A. similar incident occurred among members of UPRONA, ..As already.mentioned, minority regimes often attempt to co-opt leaders of the majority group in order to mitigate. hostilities and. legitimize their regimes, but they usually attempt to keep the important posts for themselves, so as not to endanger their dominance. In mid-June 1998, Buyoya attempted to stabilize the regime by co-opting  62  leading Hutu figures from FRODEBU into his new government. For example, for the position of the first vice-president, he appointed Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, a Hutu and a former leader of the FRODEBU parliamentary group. FRODEBU leaders were also given the ministries of external relations, planning, agriculture, commerce and industry and education. However, Tutsi supporters of Buyoya held and hold most of the strategic ministries. These, include the finance ministry, defense, and the interior and justice ministries.- Such-allocation of portfolios ensures Tutsi control of the army, internal security affairs and the resources of the state; yet, it allows representatives of the Hutu substantial participation in the governance. In addition, the government has called for the return of the 250,000 Hutu refugees in Tanzania, in its attempt at accommodation. Peace talks have been continuing between Buyoya's government and the rebels, who are.demanding a return to democracy. On January 24, 1999, the embargo over Burundi was lifted by the seven African states which had imposed it, admitting its failure. However,:the fighting has not stopped. In January 1999, 178 people were reportedly killed in clashes between Hutu insurgents and government,forces in the Makamba province.  57  In.I uly, 199.9, the three-year transition period declared by Buyoya following the July 1996 coup comes to an end. It is difficult to estimate what will follow. On the one hand, Buyoya seems to be genuinely interested in finding a solution to the conflict. On the other hand, it seems, highly unlikely that the minority will compromise its total control of the army, as it perceives this as its insurance policy against possible persecution by the majority. Furthermore, Buyoya is under pressure from Tutsi extremists. The Hutu, for their part, do not have an incentive to settle for anything less  63  then an implementation of the 1992 constitution, which would almost guarantee proportional representation in all the branches of government. But they would also want proportional representation in the army and its subordination to the civilian government. Attempted power-sharing solutions have not been successful so far due to their focus on the National Assembly and their neglect of the army as a primary component of any proposed settlement. Devolution of power or a confederal arrangement would also require a restructuring of the army in a way that would not only prevent one group from being dominant, but would also decrease the possibility of Hutu and Tutsi soldiers fighting each other. In any case, institutional arrangements would have to reconsider the almost unlimited constitutional power of the president and prevent any possibility of a tyranny by the majority.  Rene Lemarchand, Burundi: Ethnocide as Discourse and Practice (Cambridge: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, 1994), p.6; and J. Bayo Adekange, "Rwanda/Burundi: 'Uni-Ethnic' Dominance and the Cycle of Armed Ethnic Formations," in Social Identities Vbl.2 No.l '(Feb:' 1996), p.64. 1  Filip Reyntjens, "The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: The June 1993 Elections in Burundi," The Journal of Modern African Studies Vol.31, No.4 (1993), p.563. 2  J  Lemarchand, pp.42-57.  4  See for example the reference to the 1972 and 1993 killings by the Human Rights Watch, (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998).  Proxy  Targets: Civilians in the War in Burundi 5  These difficulties have been noted by Lemarchand, pp.34-35; and Peter Uvin, Aiding (Connecticut: Kumarian Press, 1998), p. 13.  Violence:  The Development Enterprise in Rwanda 6  Lemarchand, pp. 1-2.  7  Uvin: p. 14.  8  Rene Lemarchand,  9  Lemarchand,  10  Rwanda and Burundi (London:  Burundi,  Pall Mall press, 1970), pp. 18-19.  p. 12; and Adekange, p41.  Lemarchand,  Burundi,  pp.9-10; and Uvin, pp. 13-15.  Lemarchand,  Burundi,  p. 11 •  64  Ibid., pp.36-41.  12  l3  l4  Uvin, p. 17.  Adekange, pp.38-41.  Rhoda E. Howard, "Civil Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa: Internally Generated Causes," International Journal, Vol.LI, No.l (Winter 1995-96), p.34. 15  16  See for example, Lemarchand, Burundi, p.46; also Uvin, p. 17.  17  Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi, pp.82-89.  18  ibid. '  19  O'halloran, p.3.  Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analysis and Case Studies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), p.386. 20  21  Lemarchand, Burundi, pp.67-71.  22  Adekenge, pp.43-45.  ~ Lemarchand, Burundi, p.72. J  24  Ibid., pp.78-80.  25  Ibid., pp. 103-104.  26  Ibid, pp.100-101.  r  Ibid., p. 108.  28  Ibid., p. 109.  29  Reyntjens, p.573.  30  Lemarchand, Burundi, pp.118-124.  31  Reyntjens, p.564.  Frederick Ehrenreich, "Burundi: The Current Political Dynamic," paper presented at a conference on Burundi sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace in cooperation with the U.S Department of State at the Meridian International Center, Washington D.C, September 10, 1996. 32  Edward R. McMahon, "Discussion Memo: Institutional Reform in Burundi," paper presented at a conference on Burundi sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace in cooperation with the U.S Department of State at the Meridian International Center, Washington D.C, September 10, 1996. 33  34  35  Ehrenreich. Reyntjens, p.573.  65  36  Ibid., pp.569-572.  Townsend Friedman, special coordinator for Rwanda in the U.S Department of State, in a statement before the joint hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa on Rwanda and Burundi, 5 AprilT995, <http://l 98.76.84. l/HORN?burundi/usstate/testimony.txt> (date accessed: March 14, 1999). 37  Anthony D. Marley, "Excess combatants in Burundi: A Conceptual Analysis," paper presented at a conference on Burundi sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace in cooperation with the U.S Department of State at the Meridian International Center, Washington D.C, September 10, 1996. j 9  These estimated figure were published by Associated Press, January 28, 1999, <> (date accessed: March 14, 1999); Amnesty International Report, July 15, 1997, <http://,,uk/press> (date accessed: March 14, 1999); and ICG Report, "Burundi Under Siege," 28 April 1998, <> (date accessed: March 14, 1999). 4 0  41  Friedman.  Paulo Sergio Pinherio in a report given before the UN Commission On Human Rights, April 16, 1996, <> (date accessed: March 14, 1999). 42  4 j  Ehrenreich.  Amnesty International Report, August 22, 1996, <> (date accessed: March 14, 1999). 44  Amnesty International. Report, July 15, 1997, <> (date accessed: March 14, 1999). 45  46  Ehrenreich.  Rene Lemarchand, "Policy Options on Local-Level Reconstructions," paper presented at a conference on Burundi sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace in cooperation with the U.S Department of State at the Meridian International Center, Washington D.C, September 10, 1996. 47  4 8  ICG Report, "Burundi Under Siege." (see footnote #40)  49  Ehrenreich.  50  Ibid.  •  Human Rights Watch, Proxy Targets: Civilians in the War in Burundi (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998), p.3. 52  53  ICG Report, "Burundi Under Siege."  David Bryer, speech in an Oxfam briefing to the UN Security Council, February 12, 1997, <> (date accessed: March 15, 1999). 55  66  ICG Report, "Burundi Under Siege." An Associated Press Report, "Fighting in Burundi Kills 178," (see footnote #40).  67  IV  THE CASE OF IRAQ Iraq is a particularly interesting case because, as shall be shown, of the three  minority regimes, the Iraqi regime has been the most successful in legitimizing itself, at least until the 1990s. This is partly because religious affinity is of secondary importance in the composition of identities in Iraq. For Iraqis of all religions, the fundamental social unit is the family, tribe and ethnic affinity. Thus, the Arab element of identity of most members of the Shi'ite majority is more salient than their religious affinity. Likewise, 1  the identity of the Kurdish minority is first and foremost Kurdish. This has an important effect on, the levels of hostilities between the various groups. The Kurds of Iraq are mostly Sunnis, and yet are hostile to the Sunni-dominated regime and seek national selfdetermination. The Iraqi regime, in turn, perceives the Kurds as a threat to the unity of Iraq..,Consequently, the Kurds are marginalized and excluded from participation at all levels of government. Most members of the Shi'ite majority, on the other hand, are loyal to the idea-of an Iraqi state and an Arab nation. Until the 1990s, the regime did not perceive most of the Shi'ites to be as threatening as the Kurds; it allowed them to participate at some levels of the government, and recruited many of them into the Iraqi army. However, this was not true for all Shi'ites. The more religiously fundamentalist ones were and still are seeking to transform the regime in Iraq into a religious one; and thus, they are considered by the regime as threatening to its stability. Others among the Shi'ite majority have struggled to increase their participation in the political process, but these struggles have never managed to win widespread support, and until the 1990s, these were the minority among the Shi'ites.  68  As the level of hostility between most of the Shi'ite majority and the Iraqi regime dominated by the Sunni minority was relatively low, it was easier for the minority regime to persist. This does not imply that there were no tensions between the two religious groups, but merely that so long as the distinctions between the groups were secondary to the commonalities, it was easier for the minority to maintain its rule. This situation, however, has changed in the 1990s. In Chapter One, the issue of identity formation was discussed. The argument presented states that in order for a distinct and cohesive group identity to be formed, simply sharing cultural features is unlikely to be enough. There is also a need for a distinct historical memory that is often created through an experience of persecution and oppression. In the 1990s, the Shi'ite majority has experienced brutal oppression, from the regime. Consequently, hostility has intensified, the Shi'ites have become more unified in their struggle to overturn the regime,, and it has become more difficult for the minority regime to persist. .. , In .order to understand the complexity of the Iraqi case of minority rule and the relatively low level of hostility between the Shi'ite majority and the Sunni minority, it is important .first to examine the composition of Iraqi society, the distinction between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis, and to investigate how these distinct categories came into being. The population of Iraq is divided into three major groups: Arab Sunnis, Arab Shi'ites and Kurds, most of whom are Sunnis (a small number are Shi'ites). Based on actual group divisions, the group name "Sunnis" is used in this chapter in reference to Arab Sunnis; the group name Shi'ites is used in reference to Arab Shi'ites; and the group name Kurds is used in reference to Kurds of all religions.  69  An official census revealing the size of Iraq's various religious and ethnic groups has not been made since 1932. Simon Henderson rightly argues that the Iraqi government does not want such information to be revealed because it is attempting to downplay ethnicity and religion. Based on censuses from the colonial period, it is estimated that 2  out of about 16 million Iraqis, the Shi'ites constitute the majority of between 50% to 55%), while, the.Sunnis constitute between 20% and 25%, as do the Kurds. Other groups of smaller size include Turkomans, Persians, various Christian groups, Mandeans, Armenians, Circassians, Assyrians and Yazidis. The major groups are territorially based: most of the Shi'ite population spreads from Baghdad southwards; the Sunnis are concentrated in the central and western regions; the Kurds are concentrated in the northern mountains spilling across the borders with Turkey and Iran. The Shi'ites constitute a majority in Baghdad, the capital city.  4  'As.; well as being territorially segregated, the Kurdish group is distinct in its culture and history. The Kurdish identity has been developing for almost two thousand years and combines a history of persecution by the neighboring groups and a distinct culture,.the origins of which are uncertain. The most prevalent aspect of the Kurdish culture is language: Kurmanji and Sorani are spoken and are divided into several subdialects. The Kurds form a transnational community with their brethren in neighboring 5  Syria, Turkey and Iran. Their attempts to establish an independent Kurd state have been a source of concern for the Iraqi regime. These attempts have met with violent suppression. The distinction between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis is more complex. Even though Shi'ism has existed since the ,7 century, and although the Shi'ites are the th  majority group in Iraq, it was only during the 19 .century that Shi'ism became prominent th  70  in Iraq. The major split of Islam between the Sunnis and Shi'ites occurred in 680, following a dispute regarding who should function as the caliph, or successor of the Prophet Muhammad, who had died in 632. In 632, there were those who supported Abu Bakr, Muhammad's father-in-law and those who supported Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali Ibn Abu Talib. Those who supported Ali called themselves Shi'a Ali, meaning "the party of Ali." However, it was Abu Bakr who triumphed in this rivalry and became the successor. In 656, following the death of the caliph, Ali attempted to reassert his claim to the caliphate, but was challenged by the governor of Syria, Mu'awiyah, a member of the Ummayad dynasty.  ..  .  . In; the conflict that followed, Ali and his family relocated to Kufa in Iraq. In 661, Ali was assassinated by a member of a faction called the Kharijites, which supported the Ummayad dynasty. In 680, Ali's younger son Husayn, who, was also located in Kufa, turned against the Ummayads, but lost in a battle which took place in Karbala. As a result of this defeat, the Shi'ites split from the Ummayads, and two religious sects were formed: the Shi'ite..and the Sunni. Due to the geographic location of the rival dynasties, Sunni 6  Islam was more influential in the region of Iraq and westwards towards the Mediterranean, while Shi'ism became the dominant sect in the Persian region. The two religions,met in the area of what is now known as southern Iraq, where three of the most important Shi'ite cities existed: Kufa, Najaf and Karabala. These cities were surrounded by Sunni villages. The two sects developed distinct cultural features. Most importantly, the Shi'ites changed the title of their leaders to Imam in order to distinguish themselves from the Ummayad leaders, the Caliphs. Other important distinctions between the groups relate to 7  71  their interpretations of various verses of the Koran. For example, relying on the Koran, the Shi'ites believe in a fixed term marriage; for the Sunnis, however, this type of marriage is forbidden due to a fatwa, or religious decision, issued by the Caliph Omar. Another important Shi'ite rule, which arose due to persecution, permits the denial of the truth under circumstances in which Shi'ites find themselves in personal danger or in danger of compromising their religion. . It .was only during the 19 century that Shi'ism began to be more dominant in the Ih  southern regions of Iraq. This was due to the growing influence of Persian settlers that moved from Iran to Najaf and Karbala in the 19 century. According to an agreement th  between the Ottomans and Persians in 1875, the settlers were given a special status and privileges, such as tax exemptions. The Ottomans agreed to such an accord because their control of .Iraq was fragile and they sought to avoid confrontation with Iran. The special status of the Persian settlers, however, made it all the more difficult for the Ottomans to exercise control over Najaf and Karbala. Thus, the Shi'ite settlers, estimated to be eighty thousand, were almost unrestricted and became very active in converting the Arab-Sunni 8  tribes in south Iraq to Shi'ism. ,., Yitschak Nakash argues that one of the major reasons for the relative ease in which the Arab-Sunni tribes were converted to Shi'ism was the transition these tribes underwent from nomadic life to agricultural activity due to an Ottoman policy of tribal settlement that began in 1.831, This policy was enacted largely due to the Ottomans' will 9  to consolidate their control over Iraq and to increase tax revenue. Thus, by the end of the 19 century,; the bulk of the tribes had settled down and took up agriculture. However, th  this transition undermined the traditional social and political order of these tribes and  72  brought about a crisis of identity. Nakash suggests that converting to Shi'ism mitigated this crisis by introducing a new social and religious order, and by offering new solidarity and a stable way of life. Furthermore, the many Shi'ite leaders in Najaf and Karbala 10  acted as missionaries, and through their economic interaction with the tribes, attracted them to Shi'ism." The Ottoman authorities failed to react effectively to the conversions. In part, it was because they did not have detailed population estimates that distinguished between the two religions, and did not appreciate the magnitude of the conversion. It was only towards the end of the 19 century that they began to introduce programs in southern Iraq th  in an attempt to educate the tribes about the Sharia law and the Sunni tradition. However, this was too little and too late.  12  The. nature of the conversion was such that it was not as if the tribesmen went from being observant Sunnis to being observant Shi'ites. Although they absorbed most of the new rituals, their religious worship continued to reflect their former social values. For example, they saw in Ali a hero and the embodiment of manhood in a way that accorded to their traditional perception of masculinity and heroism. Furthermore, they preserved many of their traditional legal institutions and limited the penetration of Shi'ite law to issues of marriage and divorce. Moreover, as the process of modernization intensified, the interaction between northern, central and southern parts of Iraq extended. This interaction reinforced old heritages, myths, beliefs and tribal moral values which were shared by the Arab tribes from both religions, strengthening their Arab element of identity. ., . 13  73  The Shi'ites that resided in the marshlands of the Shatt-al-Arab, however, were considered inferior. The marshes were partly inside the Ottoman Empire and partly inside the Persian area. It was not uncommon for members of the tribes that were converted to Shi'ism in the marshes, to intermarry with Persians. Consequently, the Arab tribes considered them to be of mixed blood and inferior. The Arab tribesmen refused to allow their sons and daughters to marry members of the tribes in the marshes. This perception was common among both Shi'ite and Sunni tribes and demonstrates that the Arab part of their identity was overwhelmingly more significant than religious affinity. However, there were also factors that caused tensions between the groups. These had to do with the role that the Sunnis played in the governing Ottoman administration and the politicization of the Shi'ite leadership, which wanted to participate more in the center. The Ottomans, Sunnis themselves, incorporated the region in the early 16  th  century. However, as mentioned earlier, it was only in the 19 century that they th  consolidated their, control over the region. The Ottomans installed their own administration, applied their own law, which corresponded to the Sharia, and centralized political authority. They encouraged Sunni Muslims to migrate to towns and serve in the administration. Consequently, the Sunni elite was exposed to modernization and professional education. Thus, Iraq's Sunnis occupied most of the important military and administrative posts under the Ottomans, and later under the British, who built on the Ottoman system and gave further preference in the army to minority groups.  14  ,. In 1908, the Ottomans enacted a new constitution. This was a liberal constitution ;  that allowed freedom of speech and publication. In addition, secular Shi'ite schools were opened in the major cities in south Iraq. These two occurrences had an enormous impact  74  on the Sunni-Shi'ite dialogue. Shi'ites were beginning to acquire modern education and to close the social gap that had developed in the 19 century. The freedom of expression th  brought about an exchange of ideas, the main concern of which was the search for a society in which Sunni-Shi'ite unity existed. Nearing World War One, the Ottomans themselves called for Muslim unity against the European threat, hoping to gain the support of Iran.. In the Shi'ite society in Iraq, there were also religious leaders called Mujtahids, most of whom came from Iran and who were largely sponsored by it. They called for the construction of a Muslim society on the basis of Shi'ite principles, and saw themselves as representatives of the Shi'ite population and as the opponents of the Ottoman-Sunni rule that excluded them from participation in state affairs. The new Ottoman approach allowed them more freedom of action, as they were able to increase their support and mobilize the Shi'ite population as an effective opposition. In 1914, the British began to invade the southern parts of Iraq. It was during this period that the Mujtahids managed to gain more support among Shi'ite tribes, as they called for, a jihad (holy war) to defend Islam and Muslim culture from the colonizers. Although the jihad failed, the Mujtahids came to be perceived by many in the Iraqi the leading figures in the battle against colonialism. The major role that they played gave them more influence over the Shi'ite population in Iraq. The major leaders of the Sunni population were the Sharifians, members of a prestigious dynasty who sought to be the rulers of Iraq after the British departure. The British completed their invasion of Iraq in 1918. In 1920, a revolt erupted. Most of the major segments and dynasties joined forces against British rule in calling for  75  the establishment of an independent Arab-Islamic state, headed by an Arab king. Some of the Mujtahids sought a theocratic regime based on the principles of Shi'ism and saw this as a struggle between Islam and Christianity. However, this did not reflect the perception of most Iraqi Shi'ites. Most of the Sunnis and Shi'ites supported the Sharifian cause. The Sharifians saw this as a struggle for Arab independence and self-rule. Eventually, those completely different goals brought an end to the co-operation between the Mujtahids and the Sharifians. Fearing theocracy and advocating Arab nationalism, most of the Shi'ites sided with the Sharifians.  15  Due to local pressure, in 1921 the British installed Faysal, a member of the Sharifian,family, as king of Iraq. This followed a plebiscite in which 96% of the voters supported Faysal. Through Faysal and a government directed by a council of Arab ministers, the British ruled indirectly over Iraq. In accordance with the Ottoman legacy, the Sunnis-continued to be dominant in the local administration. The British prevented Mujtahid participation in the government, arguing, that religion should be separated from state:affairs. Unable to agree on one leading Mujtahid, the Mujtahids were preoccupied with inner struggles for the leadership between Abu al-Hasan Isfahani, Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, and Muhammad Firuzabadi. As noted in Chapter One, lack of cooperation between leaders of a group often prevents the group from being cohesive, and impedes its ability to pose a challenge. As a consequence of their inner struggles, the Mujtahids, were incapable of establishing a solid opposition to the new political structure of Iraq. In the hope that it would enable them to influence national politics, the Mujtahids gave their conditional support to Faysal.  16  76  Fearing the potential of Mujtahid opposition, Faysal deported many of them to Iran in 1923 on the grounds that they were not Arabs but Persians. This followed the Mujtahids withdrawal of their support of Faysal and accusations that he was cooperating with the British. The departure of many of the Mujtahids to Iran allowed local Shi'ite clergy to rise into leading positions. This caused a power struggle between the Arab Shi'ite camp led by Ahmad Kashif al-Ghita, and the Persian Mujtahids when the latter were permitted to return in 1924, causing their influence to decline. Permission to return followed a long process of negotiations after which the Persian Mujtahids accepted Faysal's demand to establish clear boundaries between religion and politics, and agreed to abstain, from politics. This decreased their influence further among the Shi'ites in Iraq.  17  , The, Shi'ite elite also included the tribal leaders, who are called Shaykhs. Unlike the Mujtahids, whose authority the British and the king tried to undermine, the status of the Shaykhs was bolstered because they were perceived as an important medium between the center and the countryside. The British and the king provided economic incentives for the Shaykhs to co-operate with them and to assist in keeping their tribes in order. Many Shi'ite Shaykhs were placed in positions of political, strength. The monarchy also aimed at increasing the power of the Shaykhs in order to reduce, the possibility of them cooperating with the Mujtahids. Thus, the Shaykhs became a part of the aristocracy of Iraq. Like, their Sunni counterparts, they advocated Pan-Arabism and approved the government's hard-line policy against the Mujtahids, making their Arab background the major fqcus of identity.  77  The common ground between the Shi'ites and Sunnis increased due to a British policy that changed the semi-autonomous status of Karbala and Najaf, and aimed to decrease their political and socioeconomic power. Consequently, many of the Shi'ites 19  residing in these two cities migrated to Baghdad, making them the majority group in the capital. In Baghdad, the former rural population was exposed to modern education and to a more secular way of life. Furthermore, Arabic was made the official language for education,, government offices and the courts. In addition, the Iraqi government introduced a law in 1927 that prohibited the employment of foreigners in government posts, .affecting the ability of Persian-Mujtahids to be in positions of authority. These policies eroded the support bases of the Mujtahids, and aided in providing a larger base for Arab Shi'ite-Sunni unity.  20  -Nevertheless, the Shi'ites were experiencing difficulties in penetrating the government and reaching high-ranking administrative positions, which remained dominated;by Sunni officials from the Ottoman period. The Sunni rulers were reluctant to share political power, and when Iraq gained its independence in 1932, an estimated 15% of high-ranking government posts were held by Shi'ites. As mentioned in Chapter One, 21  the ethnic distribution in the army and the administration was often in favor of minorities owing to the policies of the colonial powers, which greatly assisted the minorities in becoming dominant in the independent state. Due to the British policy that preferred recruiting minorities into the army, the Sunnis became overwhelmingly represented in it, 99  and in 1936, 95% of the senior officers were Sunnis. Most Iraqi Shi'ites wanted access to the political process. However, despite their insistence that their identity was first and foremost Arab, the Shi'ite claims for a share in the government were rejected by the  78  Sunni administration, which presented these demands as promoting sectarianism and contradicting the Pan-Arab ideology.  23  In 1933, King Faysal died and was replaced by his son King Ghazi. Following the king's death, the relations between the Shi'ites and the Sunni government deteriorated. Throughout his reign, King Faysal was considered a symbol of unity who attempted to promote a national identity and mitigate religious sectarianism. Following the death of King Faysal, the Shi'ite leaders decided to form a protest movement to promote their demands and change their situation. The protest movement was successful in mobilizing support after 1934, when the government headed by Ali Jawdat al-Ayyubi dissolved the parliament. The government gave many of the seats allocated to Shi'ite tribal provinces to Sunnis from Baghdad who did not represent tribal interests. Many Shi'ite Shaykhs of high status were excluded from the list of candidates. Among the excluded was the very powerful Abd al-Wahid al-Hajj Sikkar, who responded by allying with major opposition Sunni leaders, such as Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, Yasin al-Hashimi and Hikmat Sulayman. Together, these opposition leaders encouraged anti-government demonstrations in Shi'ite tribal areas. Following the tribal unrest, Ayyubi's government resigned in early 1935, as did the succeeding government headed by Midfa'i. In order to deal with the tribal unrest, King.Ghazi.appointed Yasin al-Hashimi as the new Prime Minister. Hashimi appointed Rashid Ali as Minister of Interior Affairs. However, Hashimi and Rashid Ali lost control over, the Shi'ite protests which they set in motion. Mujtahid leaders and a group of disappointed Shaykhs took advantage of the unrest among the Shi'ite tribes and formulated a list of demands regarding Shi'ite participation in government, parliament  79  and the civil service, and for more government investments in Shi'ite regions, particularly in education. The Shi'ite demands were rejected, and consequently, on May 6 1935, several tribes in the Diwaniyya region revolted. The government responded by using military force and exiled two of the Shi'ite leaders, namely Dhiban al-Ghaban and Amin al-Charchafchi, from Baghdad to Kiruk in North Iraq. The government managed to suppress the uprising after about three weeks without compromising on any of the demands of the Mujtahids. Hashimi did, however, agree to increase the representation of the Shaykhs in the government. It is important to note that the uprising was not supported by many of the Shi'ites in Iraq. As mentioned in Chapter One, the extent to which a group feels itself distinct affects the level of hostility, and one of the criteria for measuring hostility is the resort to the use of force. The unsuccessful uprising in 1935 revealed a lack of cohesion among the Iraqi Shi'ites. The Mujtahids failed to win the position of leaders among the Shi'ite population. Political leaders, such as Ja'far Abu al Timman and.Muhammad Rida alShabibi, as well as Shi'ite townsmen, saw this uprising as. promoting sectarianism and objected,to, the. use of force as a means of achieving political goals. Based on these 24  factors, it could be concluded that the level of hostility between the groups was relatively low during that period. In the 1940s, the number of educated Shi'ites rose due to growing Shi'ite influence in the Ministry of Education. Consequently, more and more Shi'ites competed for key positions in the state. There was growing pressure from the Shi'ites for a greater share of political power. The Sunni rulers increased the number of Shi'ites in the government.,and the civil service, but simultaneously expanded the size of the  80  government and administration in order to ensure the continuation of Sunni dominance. Nonetheless, the situation of the Shi'ites was improving, as Shi'ite representation in the government doubled from 18% in the 1920s to 36% in the 1950s.  25  In 1947, Salih Jabir became the first Shi'ite to be named as Prime Minister. However, he resigned ten months later after a strong negative reaction from Sunni politicians and elites to his policies, and accusations of favoritism toward the Shi'ite community. Nakash argues that the Sunni opposition to Jabir stemmed from a fear that their advantaged social status would be affected. Jabir remained active in politics and was appointed Minister of the Interior in 1950, in a government in which the important portfolios of finance, education, economics and foreign affairs were also held by Shi'ites. However, tensions grew as politicians from both groups turned to their groups, seeking to capitalize., from the growing antagonism between the groups, and simultaneously nurturing it.  26  As noted in Chapter One, tension between groups often results from competition between leaders. It was also mentioned that a change of status for one of the groups might result in a sense of deprivation. Because he lost his position, and due to the growing enmity inside his political party, the Constitutional Union Party, Jabir left the party in 1951, and formed a new party called the Popular Socialist Party. Jabir declared that the main.purpose of his new party was to create a balance in Iraqi politics. Most of the people he recruited to his party were Shi'ites. However, the Palace intervened, imposed electoral restrictions, and did not allow Jabir to emerge as an alternative to the existing government. Consequently, he boycotted the elections that followed, and his political career declined.  81  Another channel through which the Shi'ites attempted to overcome their marginalization in Iraqi politics was the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP). Disappointed by the failure of Pan-Arabism to establish a unifying framework in which they could be equals, the young generation of educated Shi'ites were attracted to the idea of equality among Iraq's various groups and classes, which the ICP introduced. By the mid-1950s, some of the Shi'ites had become suspicious of the idea of Pan-Arabism because they saw it as reflecting Pan-Sunnism. Their attraction to the ICP expressed their reservations regarding Pan-Arabism, on the one hand, and their rejection of traditional religious ideas, 97  on the other hand. In accordance with Pan-Arabism, in February 1958, Iraq and Jordan decided to form a federation. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Said, was named the head of the union. The union was named the Arab Union of Jordan and Iraq, and was in part a response to the formation of the United Arab Republic (UAR, 1958-1961), which included, Egypt and Syria. Growing dissatisfaction in Iraq with adherence to Britain also drove the formation of the union. The union, however, did not mitigate these antiWestern sentiments, and consequently, later that year, a military coup turned Iraq from a monarchy to a republic. The coup was headed by General Qarim Qasim. During his first years of rule, Qasim disassociated Iraq from Britain and the West, moves that won widespread support. Qasim also dissolved the Arab Union. Many of the Shi'ites 28  rejected the idea because of their growing suspicions regarding Pan-Arabism. Many 29  began to espouse Iraqi nationalism as their primary network of identification. Qasim was overthrown in February 1963 by yet another military coup. A group of officers, most of whom were members of the Ba'th party, assassinated Qasim and  82  seized power. The leader of the coup was Abdul Salam al-Arif, who became president for three years. The years 1964-65 were considered to be a relatively good period for Shi'ite politics, mostly because the regime was preoccupied with internal fighting. In April 1966 Arif was killed in a helicopter crash and was succeeded by his brother, General Abdul Rahman al-Arif. In July 1968, the Ba'th completed its takeover as Major General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr overthrew al-Arif. In Chapter One, it was argued that it is often the case that minorities maintain their rule by instituting a single-party system with the aid of the :  army. It was also mentioned that often minority regimes enact a unifying ideology, such as nationalism, in order to win legitimacy. In 1969, a new constitution was enacted, making;the. Ba'th institutions the supreme institutions of the country. The Ba'th Party was founded in 1952 by a Shi'ite named Fu'ad al-Rikabi. However, Rikabi left the party with his followers in 1959, and by 1968 the, party was dominated by Sunnis. The ideology of the party is socialist-secular and Pan-Arab. The official doctrine of the party declares that one's religion or sect should not determine one's nationality. Rather, 30  language-is the primary characteristic determining one's nationality. The implication of this perception is that the Shi'ites and Sunnis belong to the same nation, while the Kurmanji-speaking Kurds do not. Until the 1990s, this ideology influenced the different 31  ways in which the Ba'th regime had been treating those two groups. The highest institution of the Ba'th party is the Revolutionary Command Council'(RCC). It is the highest decision-making body in the land, and Amazia Baram notes that the 1969 constitution defined the RCC and its chairman as "the supreme executive'and legislative authorities and, in special cases, [they] also form the supreme  83  judicial branch."  The second most important institution in the party and the state is the  Regional Leadership ( R L ) . A l l members o f the R C C must be recruited from the R L , and all members have to be native Iraqis. The Chairman o f the R C C is also the Secretary General o f the R L , and the President o f the Republic and the Commander-inChief of the armed forces. From July 1968, Iraq was ruled by a small R C C , which comprised five members, all o f whom were high-ranked military officers: Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr, Salih Mahadi Ariimash, A b d al-Ghaffer al-Takriti, Sa'dun Ghaydan, and Hammed Shihab. The R L o f 1968 contained fifteen members, a l l o f whom were Sunnis from Baghdad and the" north: However, over the years, both the R C C and R L were transformed and came to include members from all regions and religions, although.the Sunnis retained their dominance. Baram notes that since the Iraqi regime does not register or publicize the religious affinity o f any Ba'thist functionaries, the only way to distinguish between Sunriis and'Shi'ites in the Ba'thist institutions is through their birthplace and the location in which their careers in the party have been pursued.  33  This makes estimates  of the number o f Shi'ites participating in the government difficult. Nevertheless, it is clear that'their numbers have risen considerably since 1968.  34  A s mentioned in Chapter One, minority regimes often attempt to co-opt leaders of the majority in order to gain legitimacy. Baram argues that Saddam Husayn's growing power in the B a ' t h party influenced the inclusion o f Shi'ites in the decisionmaking process.  35  Saddam was the Deputy Secretary General o f the R L , and when he  became Deputy Chairman o f the R C C in 1969, Bakr practically shared his rule with  84  him. Due to his inner power struggles with several o f the R C C members, Saddam attempted, to increase the number o f members in the R L and other party institutions from the Takriti region, which is Saddam's place o f origin. Many o f the new members recruited to the Ba'th were related to Saddam, and due to their recruitment, they became the,most prominent regional group in these institutions. This process went relatively unchallenged due to substantial Takriti representation in the army, and it enabled Saddam to weed out his opponents. In 1974, nine new members were added to the R L . They were mostly regional leaders and senior managers o f major economic institutions. Three o f the new members were Shi'ites, representing Shi'ite regions. The Shi'ite representation increased further as both the R L and R C C increased their sizes. In 1977, the number o f R L members increased to twenty-one, fourteen o f whom were loyalists o f Saddam, and his influence increased. Between 25% to 40% o f the new R L were Shi'ites. .Due to growing unrest and riots in Shi'ite regions, in which hundreds were imprisoned, Bakr and Saddam decided to j o i n the R L and the R C C in order to provide the Shi'ites with representation in the highest political institution in the country. However, it should be noted that Shi'ite representation in the R L preceded the riots. The Shi'ite representation  should not be dismissed as symbolic. Shi'ite  politicians, such as Hasan A l i al-Amiri, Sa'dun Shakir, Adnan Husayn and Abbas alHamd'ani, held important government portfolios, including Planning and Interior (the third most important portfolio after the premiership and defense),  37  Industry and  Commerce.' Some held senior executive positions in the internal security branch. Most o f these Shi'ite leaders were in a patron-client relationship with Saddam and owed their  85  positions to him. It should also be stressed that the Sunnis made sure to retain their supremacy by holding on to the most important posts: president and vice president of the Republic, chairman and deputy chairman of the RCC, secretary general of the R L , and the ministry of defense. Nevertheless, the co-optation of many Shi'ite politicians into influential positions and into the RCC, the most important decision-making body in Iraq, should not be treated lightly. •The notion that the regime's approach towards the Shi'ites should be perceived as conciliatory is further strengthened when comparing it to the regime's response to the Kurd'riots in 1974. Andrew Whitley notes that the Kurdish uprising in 1974 resulted in the massacre of thousands of Kurds and the relocation of tens of thousands 38  11  to southern Iraq to inhibit the ability of the Kurds to function as a group.  Unlike the 39  Shi'ites, the. Kurds were excluded from participation in the Ba'th institutions.  Both  Shi'ites and Sunnis were loyal, to the idea of an Iraqi state, and they were united in their opposition tp the threat to the unity of Iraq. This, however, did not include religious 40  v  Shi'ites, who were excluded from participation. Opposition from their side did exist. In 1979, Saddam ousted Bakr and made changes in the composition of the R C C and RL- in order-to consolidate his control. He executed five members of the RC, two of whom were Shi'ites. Saddam' saw these people as a threat to his rule, but the fact that he perceived two of the Shi'ite politicians as threatening indicates that they were in powerful positions and were not "yes-men." Many army officers and party officials were also tried for plotting against the regime. In their place, Saddam appointed many from his home area -of Takrit,-.Since tribal affinity is primary, many of the people in high-ranked government posts are. from Takrit and his regime, is considered by some to be Sunni-  86  Takrit rule. By one estimate, a quarter of the Ba'th Regional Command in the late 41  1970s were Takritis The relative representation of the Shi'ites, however, did not 42  change substantially. A Shi'ite close to Saddam, Na'im Hadad, became one of four 43  deputy prime ministers. Despite the relatively low levels of tension between the Shi'ites and the regime, Shi'ite opposition did exist as mentioned above. The opposition came from the religious part of the sect, which resented the secular ideas of the Ba'th regime. The Pan-Arab secular ideology led the Ba'thist regime to close down religious schools, impose censorship on religious publications and limit the ability of the religious institutions to act. Furthermore, a reversal of a decision allowing Ayatollah Khomeini tofindrefuge in Iraq, after living in Najaf for 14 years, due to requests from the Iranian Shah, led to active protests and rioting among religious Shi'ites.  44  The leader of the Shi'ite opposition movement was Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. In the early-1960s, Sadr formed a political party called the Islamic Da'wa, meaning the Islamic call. The purpose of the party was to unite all Shi'ites under the religious banner and establish a theocracy in Iraq. Sadr was sponsored by his co-religionists in Iran, and in 1980, he was executed along with hundreds of his followers for supporting Ayatollah Khomeini's regime and its call for all Shi'ites to rise against the Ba'thist regime. Thousands of Sadr's followers were expelled to Iran. T.M. Aziz suggests that the regime's response to Sadr is one of "an authoritarian regime fighting for its survival."  45  However, since most of the Shi'ites in Iraq advocate a secular state, the extent of support for the party is not clear; it could be that on the eve of the war with Iran, the Iraqi regime wanted to ensure that all of the Shi'ite segments of Iraqi society were obedient.  87  Indeed, the Iran-Iraq war can serve as an indicator of the relatively low levels of tensions between the Shi'ites and the Iraqi regime. Sharam Chubin and Charles Tripp refer to two major factors that explain Shi'ite compliance to the regime during the war. First, many of the Shi'ites in rural areas were only nominally Shi'ites due to the circumstances of their conversion; their political identities and loyalties were circumscribed by tribal custom. Second, many of the urban Shi'ites were secular and 46  exposed to modernization, decreasing their respect for religious leaders. Many of them were attracted to the modern state and the economic and occupational opportunities it provided  4 7  The fact that their situation had improved over the years and that they did not  sense blunt discrimination decreased their group conscious, strengthening Gurr's claim that the- converse is true: the more a group feels discriminated against, the more it is likely to be cohesive and to take political action. .Other scholars explain Shi'ite loyalty by. arguing that many Shi'ites saw themselves as Arab and Iraqi nationalists first and Shi'ites second. This claim is backed 48  by the fact that not only did many Shi'ites remain quiescent, but many of them fought in the war. Most of the troops in the rank-and-file were.. Shi'ites. Some of those who were not dedicated to fighting, nonetheless rejected Iranian propaganda simply because they were not. advocates of a theocracy, which they believed was inappropriate for their way of life.  49  As noted in Chapter One, minority regimes often attempt to blur cultural distinctions in order to promote unity and legitimize themselves. Saddam Husayn attempted to stress a unified identity of all Iraqis regardless of religious affinity by embracing Shi'ite traditions and myths as part of the Iraqi tradition. Thus, Shi'ite  88  festivals were declared public festivals, and traditional Shi'ite heroes were invoked as Iraqi heroes. In addition, the uniting features were promoted: language, customs and Arab origin. The regime's attempts to ensure that a collective Shi'ite identity would not evolve also included economic policies: the regime increased the amount of government money distributed to Shi'ite areas. Furthermore, in 1982, the percentage of Shi'ites in the RL rose to more than 40%. The isolated acts of resistance, usually carried out by religious 50  groups, were repressed with full force, and thus discouraged potential challengers.  51  After the Gulf War in 1991, the relations between the Saddam's regime and the Shi'ite population deteriorated considerably. The major reason for the deterioration was Saddam's policies in response to the U.N sanctions. Due to the sanctions, the economic developments in south Iraq, which began during the 1980s, came to a halt. In the Sunni regions, however, there were no major cutbacks. This is despite the fact the southern regions pf Iraq were the ones that suffered most during the war. Furthermore, the Shi'ites comprised most of the rank-and-file in the army,, and had suffered many casualties. Many felt that the. policies were unjustified and showed that their contribution in the war was unappreciated by the regime. Furthermore, since the mid-1980s, their representation in 52  * 53  the decision-making process has dropped in favor of more representation for Takrit. Despite the growing Shi'ite distress, an attempted uprising in March 1991 failed to spread. This is mainly because the religious leaders assumed leadership over the uprising, and many of the secular and middle class Shi'ites were alienated and saw them as Iranian agents. The government sent the Republican Guard, composed almost entirely of Sunnis, to suppress the uprising. These forces did not distinguish between proponents 54  of the uprising and quiescent Shi'ite citizens. It is unknown how many people were killed  89  by the Republican Guard, but it is estimated that about seventy thousand Shi'ites were driven across the border to Iran and many fled to the marshes in southern Iraq, where the central government did not have full control. Some Shi'ite soldiers deserted their units and formed guerrilla units in the marshes. Their numbers are estimated at between three and six thousand. In response, about forty thousand Iraqi troops were sent to the marshes. Artillery and helicopters were used to attack the Shi'ites in the marshes. There was also a campaign to drain the area. Many Shi'ites were relocated in northern parts of the country, using a similar strategy to the one used against the Kurds in the 1970s. The campaign against the Shi'ites in the marshes has continued on throughout the 1990s and has also included burning down villages. By 1995, it was estimated that around two hundred thousand of the quarter of a million inhabitants of the marshes had been driven out of the area since 1991. Furthermore, strict bans on broadcasts of Shi'ite programs and Shi'ite publications have been imposed. In certain cities, the call for prayers has been forbidden. This has not only been in the marshes, but also closer to the center.?  5  ...Although many of the Shi'ites did not take part in the insurgency in the early 1990s, the regime's brutal response, which did not distinguish between rebels and loyalists, or between secular and religious people, has led to the alienation of many of the Shi'ite population who were previously loyal to the regime. Some say that it has created hatred between the groups that resembles the relations of the regime with the Kurds, and that the'regime must now be more oppressive and use coercive force when dealing with the Shi'ites.  56  . Saddam has been trying to emphasize unity and to promote Pan-Arabism. He has been portraying himself as the protector of the Arab world from Western aggression, and  90  in his speeches, Saddam speaks about the "glorious Arab nation," mentioning myths of Arab heroism. However, he has also been marginalizing Shi'ite politicians in the Ba'th 57  institutions. This in turn has harmed the legitimacy of his regime in the eyes of many Shi'ites. Furthermore, since 1992, the regime has been destroying many of the buildings in Karbala, transforming much of the architecture that reflects Persian influence in an 58  attempt to, emphasize the Arab elements of identity of both Shi'ites and Sunnis. However,, it.seems that the brutal oppressions of the Shi'ites by the Republican Guard has created an experience of persecution, allowing the Shi'ites a shared historical memory particular to. their group. It is this experience that increases the level of hostility between the Shi'ites and the regime, and may create a Shi'ite identity distinct from the Sunni. Due to the combination of these factors, this identity might override the primary importance of the Arab and Iraqi elements of their identity,, and,, as suggested by Cordesman and Hashim, might lead them to aspire to a Shi'ite-dominated regime.  59  This observation has been made by several scholars. See for example Simon Henderson, Instant Empire: Saddam Hussein's Ambition for Iraq (San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991), p.33. Also Yitzhak Nakash, The Shi'is of Iraq (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). 1  2  Simon Henderson, p.25.  These figures rely on a census conducted in 1932, and are provided by Yitschak Nakash, p.13; see also Ted Robert Gurr, Minorities at Risk (Washington D.C.: Institute of Peace Press, 1993), Table A.4., p.332 for "Best 1990 estimates of group size in proportion to country population." See also the figures of the Jaffa Center of Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel, provided by Henderson, p.26. J  4  Henderson, p.27.  5  Michael M. Gunter, The Kurds of Iraq: Tragedy and Hope (New York: St. Martins Press, 1992).  91  The term "Sunni" relates to the "Sunna", which is the formulation of the common law of Islam.  6  The Shi'ites believe that their Imams possess the secret knowledge of God which they can pass on to humans, and that the right of succession has been divinely granted to Muhammad's lineage. The Sunni's caliphate, on the other hand is a more secular leadership. The choice of the Caliphs is largely determined by popularity among members of the Sunni community. While the Imam authority is largely in the realm of religious law, the authority of the Caliph is purely secular. 7  8  Nakash, p. 17.  . . Ibid.,.pp.25-28. 9  10  Ibid., pp.28-38.  " Ibid., pp.28-38. 12  .  1 3 v  Ibid., pp.42-44. ibid.;, pp.42-.48.  14  Henderson, p.32.  15  Nakash. pp.55-72.  Samira Haj, The Making of Iraq, 1900-1963 (New York: State University of New York Press, 1997), pp.80-110; see also Nakash, pp.75-77. 16  17  l8  Nakash, pp.78-88.  .Haj, pp.80-110; see also Nakash, pp.88-94.  Nakash notes that the population of Karbala decreased from around 50,000 in 1908 to around 25,000 in 1928, pp. 98. 19  20  Ibid., pp.95-102.  21  Ibid., p. 110.  Mohammad A. Tarbush, The Role of the Military in Politics (London: Kegan Paul International, 1982), pp.80-82, 22  23  Nakash, p. 113.  24  Ibid., pp.124-125.  25  Ibid., p.127.  26  ibid; pp. 128-130.  Anthony H. Cordesman and Ahmed S. Hashim, Iraq: Sanctions and Beyond, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), p.97. 27  28  T.M. Aziz, "The Role of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in Shi'ite Political Activism in Iraq from  1958 to 1980," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.25, No.2 (1993), pp.207-222.  92  29  30  Nakash, p. 136.  Amazia Baram, "The Ruling Political Elite in Ba'th Iraq, 1968-1986: The Changing Features of  a CollectiveProfile," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.21, No.4 (1989), p.448.  ,.  31  Cordesman and Hashim, p.98.  32  Baram, p.448.  33  Ibid.  34  Ibid., pp.447-493.  35  Ibid., pp.450-455.  =f  Ibid., p.454.  37  Ibid.  Andrew Whitley, "Minorities and the Stateless in Persian Gulf Politics," Survival, Vol.35, No.4 (Winter 1993-94), pp.28-50. 38  -  39  Baram,p.454.  40  Liora Lukitz, Iraq: The Search for National Identity (London: Frank Cass, 1995), pp.4-9.  41  Henderson, p.34.  4 ;  ibid.  '  43  Baram, p.455.  44  Cordesman and Hashim, p.98.  45  Aziz, p.208.  4 6  Sharam Chubin and Charles Tripp, Iran and Iraq at War (London: I.B. Tauris, 1988), pp.98-99.  4 7  Chubin and Tripp, p.99.  48  Cordesman and Hashim, p.99.  49  Ibid.  50  Baram, p.456.  51  Chubin and Tripp, pp. 100-104.  52  Cordesman and Hashim, pp. 100-101.  Ibid., pp. 12-24 and p. 100; and also Amazia Baram, "Neo-Tribalism in Iraq: Saddam Hussein's Tribal policies 1991 -96," Journal of Middle East Studies Vol.29, No. 1 (1997), pp. 1-31. 53  54 ''  Nakash, p. 136.  93  Cordesman and Hashim, p. 108.  See for example, the speech of Saddam Husayn on the 30' anniversary of the 1968 revolution, July 16 1998, (date accessed: April 15, 1999): "Great people We, all, face the plight of the embargo, threats, conspiracy and the courses of evil coming from outside Iraq. We, all, live up to the honor of firmness, position and the ability to face the threats." Also "Despite foreign interventions, particularly British and French, were made to make the establishment of the Arab League as a substitute for the Arab unity whose slogans were strongly raised by the Arab masses which called for the unity and by which they rocked the chairs of government and the remnants of colonialism in the great Arab homeland, the old colonialism was not able to control the subsequent march of the Arab League because the Arab masses and their great slogans and struggle were against the colonialist will." 58  Nakash, pp.273-279.  59  Cordesman and Hashim, p. 108.  94  V  CONCLUSION: EXPLAINING MINORITY RULE The cases of Syria, Iraq and Burundi demonstrate that in order to understand the  phenomenon of minority rule over hostile majorities, it is necessary to first understand how the group identities were formed. There is a need to understand the sources of the conflict and the influence of the colonial experience on group relationships and the ability of the minority to attain power. The persistence of such minority rule is largely dependent on the structure of the government and the strategies that the minority leaders pursue in order to decrease, the level of hostility and legitimize the regime. The various perspectives presented in Chapter One, namely the cultural approach, the modernist approach, and the psychological approach, have contributed to the understanding of the issues of identity formation and conflict, in Syria, Burundi and Iraq. The cultural approach helps pinpoint the differences between the groups. In all three cases, identity, is largely influenced by a combination of cultural elements and a shared historical experience that binds group members together. The contribution of the modernist.approach lies in its emphasis on the changing nature of identity. Identity is a variable largely affected by social, political and economic circumstances, a point sometimes overlooked by some theorists of ethnicity. Political entrepreneurs often 1  manipulate the changing conditions for instrumental benefits. In all three cases, social, political and economic conditions, combined with strategies of political leaders, have caused a shift in the identities of the various groups. Distinct identities have somewhat faded in light of a new collective identity. The psychological approach points to the strong emotional dimension of the changes in identity due to the social, political and economic circumstances. Often groups feel that they are disadvantaged and struggle to  95  overcome their disadvantage. In turn, advantaged groups struggle to retain their advantage. The combination of all three approaches helps understand not only the impact of group identity, but also the relationships between the various groups and the reasons for the changes in the levels of hostility.  Figure 1 Levels of hostility in Iraq, Syria and Burundi  10  CO  o  5  CD.  pre-colonialis colonialism  minority rule  currently  period Syria  Burundi  Iraq  In Iraq, for a long period of time, the major distinction between the Shi'ite majority and the Sunni minority was religious affinity. The importance of the religious element of identity determined the extent to which the two identities were distinct. For example, religious Shi'ites saw themselves as a distinct group and aspired to political power. For the secular Shi'ites, on the other hand, religion did not play a major part in their lives. Thus, they saw themselves as members of the same group as the Sunnis. Both groups viewed themselves first and foremost as Arabs. However, as Figure 1 shows, the  96  level of hostility in Iraq has increased in the 1990s. The experience of oppression at the hands of the Sunni-dominated regime during this period has created a shared experience for the Shi'ites and a feeling of "us versus them". It is this experience that could create a distinct Iraqi-Shi'ite identity. The identity of the Alawis in Syria also combines a religious factor and a historical experience of subordination. Since becoming a separate sect, Alawis have been persecuted by the Sunni majority, forcing them to isolate themselves geographically. Their situation deteriorated under Ottoman rule, as they were further persecuted by the Sunnis and treated as a sub-class. This distinct historical experience strengthened their group identity, and led to enhanced group loyalty. It was also this experience that led them to struggle for political power so as to escape their disadvantaged position. . In.,Burundi, historical occupational roles are what mainly distinguish Tutsi and Hutu. While the Hutu were peasants, the Tutsi were cattle owners. As the Tutsi entrusted the Hutu with their cattle, a patron-client relationship developed between the groups. However it was only during the colonial period that their distinct identities became politically salient, and, as Figure. 1 shows, the level of hostility began to rise. The Belgian colonizers established hierarchical relations between the groups, subordinating the Hutu to the Tutsi. Attempting to struggle out of their disadvantaged position, the Hutu revolted. Aspiring to retain their advantaged positions, the Tutsi were not willing to compromise their status. Consequently, violence erupted, and the Hutu managed to seize control of neighboring Rwanda. The violent events have become a part of the historical experience of the groups;.thus it is a.part of their identity. The Tutsi point to the slaughter of their brethren in Rwanda as evidence of their persecution by the Hutu, while the Hutu see  .  97  themselves as historically deprived by the Tutsi. These experiences and different interpretations of historical events have been reinforcing the distinct identities. Understanding how the distinct group identities developed helps to explain the circumstances that stimulate an ethnic minority to seek political power and enable it to attain it. In Chapter One, it was mentioned that these conditions have to do with the ways in which historical events shape a group's experience, its identity, and the social and political structures of the society of which the group is a part. In all three cases of minority rule, the colonial powers were the ones that provided the ethnic minority with the-topis and- opportunities to obtain political power after the colonials departed. The colonialists created a modern state structure, favored the minorities through divide-andrule tactics; and promoted members of the minority groups to high positions in state institutions, particularly the army. However, it was not only the policies of the colonial powers that allowed, the minorities, to attain political power. Lack of cohesion of the majority .group also played an important part in enabling the minority to gain control of the state.  -.  .,  In Iraq, the Sunni minority gained their advantaged position during the period of Ottoman rule. While the tribes in the southern parts of Iraq were being converted to Shi'ism, the Ottoman administration co-opted Sunnis in the urban centers. Ultimately, however,,the British colonizers were the ones to provide them with the tools to exercise political power in a modern state structure. The British installed Faysal as king, and handed power over to him when they departed. Fearing the spread of religious Shi'ism, the British prevented religious leaders from participating in the government. Furthermore, the British maintained Sunni dominance in the state institutions, particularly in the army.  98  It was this dominance that has allowed the Sunnis to monopolize political power, and to retain their advantaged status. Moreover, since the Shi'ite majority was divided between the religious and secular communities, it was not able to establish an effective opposition. Their lack of cohesion was largely due to the fact that for non-religious Shi'ites, religious affinity was secondary to the Arab element of their identity. In Syria, the historical experience of the minority was such that obtaining political power was almost a necessity to-prevent its persecution. As mentioned earlier, the Alawi identity is largely the.result of an historical experience of subordination and oppression. Colonialism contributed to converting their sense of distinctiveness into national aspirations by allowing them an autonomous state in 1922. For the first time in their history, Alawis were not subject, to Sunni dominance. As shown in Figure 1, the level of hostility in Syria increased during the colonial period. Colonialism served to widen ethnic envy and anger by distinctly favouring the Alawi minority and playing it off against the Sunni majority..Members of the Alawi minority rose to key positions in the army. Thus, the Alawis assumed a major role in suppressing Sunni nationalist protests and uprisings. The Alawis.felt threatened by the departure of the French colonialists. For them, attaining political power was a means of preventing the recurrence of their oppression by the Sunnis...Their dominance in the army enabled them to participate in the Ba'th coup in 1963, and ultimately take control of the state in 1966. The absence of Sunni group cohesion also played a major role in their ability to gain political power. The numerous coups in .the, 1950s and .1960s shifted the focus from their aspirations to the power struggles between Sunni elites.  99  In Burundi, an important factor in the construction of Tutsi and Hutu identity was their occupational roles, and subsequently the political dominance of the Tutsi elite. The hierarchy, however, was not strict, and ultimately it was the colonial power that solidified the hierarchy by distinctly favoring the Tutsi minority and playing it off against the Hutu majority. As illustrated in Figure 1, it was during this period that the level of hostility began to rise in Burundi. Furthermore, colonial rule established a modern state structure, supplying .the Tutsi with the tools by which it could centralize authority and exercise ruling power. Most importantly, similar to the two. other cases of minority rule, the Belgian colonialists created a Tutsi-dominated army, which allowed the minority later to consolidate its control. Thus, the Tutsi played a major role in suppressing revolts conducted by the Hutu. Although their historical role as a ruling elite and their position during the period of colonial rule stimulated the Tutsi to retain their advantaged status, the witnessing of the severe persecution that their ethnic brethren across the. Rwandan border had suffered has made the Tutsi aware of their need to maintain a minority regime. Tutsi leaders often point to the Hutu massacres of Tutsi in Rwanda to justify the need to prevent majority rule. • • Historical experiences, identities and the colonial legacy have all contributed to the shape of the conflictJn the post-colonial period and to the ability of the minorities to obtain control. Once control was obtained, the minority regimes needed to assure continuous rule by being able to oppress challenges, and by legitimizing themselves. In all three cases, the minority governments have made sure that the key positions in the army and bureaucracy, were filled by members of their own groups. Furthermore, they  100  have all established authoritarian government structures that have enabled them to maintain stability by constraining the political activities of the majority. The role of the army has been critical. As mentioned in Chapter One, absence of civilian control over the army often characterizes authoritarian regimes. In all three cases, the minority was able to gain control of the state due to a military coup. The armies of the three minority regimes have played a major role in suppressing insurgencies. With the aid of the army, the minority regimes have established single-party systems that have further aided their ability to maintain tight control. Howeyer, asthccase of Burundi shows, minorities cannot rule easily, or usually for long, simply by stacking government offices with co-ethnics or by repressing resistance. As Figure 1 illustrates, in all three cases the level of hostility has risen at some point during the period of minority rule. This is largely because of the brutal suppression of challenges. Minority governments ultimately must develop some strategies for gaining long-term compliance. In order to survive, minority regimes need to decrease the level of hostility and to legitimize themselves. The role of leaders in manipulating identities is of paramount importance here.. All three minority regimes have.been trying to create a supra-ethnic unified identity. Their success has been largely determined by the extent to which; the .cleavages .between the majority and minority are politically salient. The political salience of the distinguishing elements of identity is largely determined by the level of hostility. In other words, the higher the level of hostility, the more difficult it is for the minority regime to create a unified identity; the more difficult it is to form a unified identity, the harder it becomes for the minority regime to legitimize itself.  101  The current Iraqi regime took over the state through a military coup in 1968. The new government instituted a single-party regime. The institutions of the Ba'th party became the governing institutions. Through the Ba'th party and the dominance of the Sunni members of the Ba'th in the army, the regime managed to consolidate its control. However, as mentioned earlier, this is not enough to maintain continuous rule, and the minority regime looked for ways to legitimize itself. Traditionally, religious identities in Iraq have not been politically salient. As illustrated in Figure. 1, this has meant that the level of hostility between the groups has been, until recently, relatively low. The minority regime managed to promote a Pan-Arab ideology that united Iraqis of both religious groups. Furthermore, the Iraqi regime portrayed itself, as the leader of the Arab world against the .Western.threat. These policies were fairly successful and for a long time the regime was legitimate in the eyes of the Shi'ite majority. Likewise, Shi'ite leaders were co-opted into the governing institutions to positions which possess effective political power. Furthermore, Shi'ite soldiers fought side by side with Sunnis against Shi'itedominated Iran. However, as .mentioned, in Chapter Two, the relationship between the minority regime and the Shi'ite majority has changed in the 1990s due to the severe oppression of the regime, which has not distinguished between. religious insurgents and compliant seculars. This has resulted in unrest among secular Shi'ites. Furthermore, marginalization of .Shi'ite leaders in the political process, and economic policies favoring Sunnis, have led to a sense of deprivation. As mentioned earlier, it is often the case that such circumstances make identities politically salient, and it seems to be the case of the Shi'ites in Iraq. Consequently, as shown in Figure. 1, the level of hostility has been rising,  102  tens of thousands of Shi'ites have been dislocated or exiled to Iran, thousands have been detained in prisons, and freedom of religious activity has been strictly restricted. This in turn has reinforced the growing tensions, and has delegitimized the regime to the extent that some scholars argue that the Shi'ites might aspire to a Shi'ite-dominated regime. As in Iraq, the Alawis attained political power through a military coup in 1963, and took control of the state in 1966 due to their dominance in the ruling Ba'th party and the army. Like the Sunnis in Iraq, the AJawis in Syria also instituted a single-party system in which,the .institutions of the Ba'th party became the supreme institutions of the state. The Alawis managed to consolidate their control through their dominance in the army and through a government structure that allowed them tight control of the state. However, unlike the Iraqi case, it was much more difficult for the minority regime in Syria to gain legitimacy. This is because of the long history of Alawi subordination and separate historical, experiences that distinguish the Alawi minority from the Sunni majority, and make their identities politically salient. Scholars have noted that the level of hostility between the groups has been high for a very long time, This claim is supported 3  by the high frequency of violent incidents and insurgencies which were conducted by organized resistant groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The regime responded forcefully and brutally, as was the case in the Hamah revolt. Suppression of such anti-Alawi revolts was carried out by the Alawi-dominated army and an all-Alawi Republican Guard. Many opposition leaders were arrested and strict restrictions on the media and on freedom of association imposed. However,, as in the Iraqi case, an authoritarian government structure and the brutal repression of opposition were not enough to maintain stable rule. Accordingly, as in the  103  case of Iraq, the regime has been attempting to promote a Pan-Arab ideology that will unite all Arabs regardless of ethnicity. However, the long history of distinct identities has made pursuing this policy more difficult than in Iraq. Like Saddam Husayn, Hafiz alAsad has been portraying himself as the leader of the Arab nation and its protector from the Western threat and Israeli aggression. The regime has also been.liberalizing the economy, a policy that has enabled it to establish favorable contacts with the Sunni bourgeoisie. This policy has managed to mitigate opposition from class, and to decrease the hostility, by showing that the regime is pursuing the interests of Syrians from all ethnic groups. As a result, the number of violent incidents has been in decline in the 1990s, more Sunnis are involved in the decision-making process on economic issues, and prisoners, some belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, who have agreed to stop their political activities, have been released from prison. As illustrated in Figure 1, the Syrian regime has managed to decrease the level of hostility. Consequently, it has managed to gain some legitimacy and to stabilize itself. TTiis does not imply that the antagonism has disappeared, but merely that government policies have led many Sunnis to make cost-benefit considerations regarding possible outcomes of challenges to the regime. Through these policies, the regime has been managing partly to legitimize itself. . .... As in Syria.and Iraq, the minority regime in Burundi has been relying heavily on the Tutsi-dominated army and a single-party structure to maintain its control. Indeed, through its, dominance in the army, the Tutsi regime has managed to overcome numerous revolts throughput the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It was when the regime loosened its  104  authoritarian structure and allowed democratic elections that it lost its control. However, through the army it has managed to regain it. Of the three regimes, the minority regime in Burundi has been the least successful in legitimizing itself. This is largely a result of a higher level of hostility due to frequent large-scale massacres. The regime has not been successful in imposing a unified identity despite its nationalist ideology.. This is partly because, unlike Iraq and Syria, Burundi lacks ".the, Western threat" and "Israeli aggression". The Hutu have been largely excluded from the army, the bureaucracy and the ruling Furthermore, the advantaged position of their brethren across the Rwandan border, has been fueling Hutu aspirations. Organized insurgent groups have been receiving assistance from neighboring countries, making it all the more difficult for the regime to maintain stability. Continuous fighting has.resulted in hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees. Over the years, hundreds of thousands have died in battles between the groups. As shown in Figure 1, the level of hostility has been rising continuously. It is not, clear how much longer the Tutsi regime will able to retain its control. Unlike Syria and Iraq, Burundi lacks a longserving strong leader. Competition between rival Hutu insurgency groups has resulted in a lack of cohesion and has assisted the regime in persisting. However, lacking legitimacy from the majority, the Tutsi regime seems to be the least stable of the three minority regimes.  '  We can conclude from examining the three cases of minority rule over hostile majorities .that;minority, rule explained,by examining how the identities of the minority and.majority were formed, how they have been shaped throughout the history of the two groups, and how they have influenced and been influenced by the relationship  105  between the groups. There is also a need to examine how political leaders have manipulated identities for instrumental benefits. O n this basis, it is possible to understand the political salience o f the identities, the level o f hostility and the reasons why the minorities seek political power. Attaining it or retaining it, and maintaining it for a continuous period o f time is dependent on an authoritarian government structure, which invariably includes a large degree o f army involvement in politics. Persistent minority rule is .afso .dependent on its ability legitimize itself most notably by creating the appearance o f a unified identity. Political entrepreneurs attempt to manipulate identities for instrumental purposes, primarily for their political survival. Success in forming such a unified identity implies a decrease in the saliency o f elements o f identity that distinguish between the groups, and ultimately a decrease o f the. level o f hostility, assisting the persistence o f minority rule. .  '  See for example, Harold Isaacs, "Basic Group Identities: The Idols of the Tribe," in Nathan Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan (eds.), Ethnicity: Theory and Experience (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp.29-52; see also Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York Books, 1973), pp.44-49. 1  See for example, Anthony H. Cordesman and Ahmed S. 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