To many Westerners, the Middle East is thought of as a region torn apart from the inside by ethnic and religious strife. One incongruous case to this perception, however, is the longevity of the Assad family’s rule in Syria. Many scholars have tried to answer the question of how the Assads, members of the minority ‘Alawi community, which was, and is, considered by many Muslims to be heretical, could so wholly dominate the state and military infrastructure of Syria. This study aims to show how deep the roots of ‘Alawi military rule run, and how it can be found in Syria’s time as a League of Nations Mandate under the French, the effect this had on Syria’s military post-independence and the subsequent importance of the military in Syrian politics.

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