New publication WPCS | The Druze of Sweida: the Return of the Regime Hinges on Regional and Local Conflicts| Mahmoud al-Lababidi

The MEDirections is delighted to share a new Research Project Report from the Wartime and Post Conflict in Syria project (WPCS). This paper was originally published in Arabic.

The Druze of Sweida: the Return of the Regime Hinges on Regional and Local Conflicts

by Mahmoud al-Lababidi

Since 2011, the Druze of Sweida have witnessed a state of chaos and anxiety, a decline in the role of the middle class and their traditional and political leaders, and serious exposure to regional interference. In early 2019, the Syrian regime resumed its pressure on Sweida’s Druze to join its armed forces amid resistance from some local armed forces, raising the questions of the possibility of the regime directly ruling Sweida through its security and military institutions once again, the conditions in which this would take place and the local factors that might impede it.

This paper first examines the factors that changed the ethnic nature of the Druze in terms of the relationship between their local political and religious leaderships and the reasons for the continuity of spiritual leadership and the erosion of its secular counterpart.

The paper also maps out the forms of interventions by Iran, Russia and the Druze of Lebanon and Israel and their interrelationships with local forces and impact on the rearrangement of the local social order in Sweida. Finally, the study presents possible future scenarios for the region.