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February 07, 1984 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-07

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4

OPINION
Tuesday, February 7, 1984

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Radicalism w

By Daniel Nassif
The real obstacle to peace in the Mid-
dle East has mostly been Syria for the
last three decades. The Syrians have
their own motives for doing so. The
present junta sees Israel and Lebanon
as ideal scapegoats to divert the
nation's mind from its economic and
political woes. President Hafez Assad
presides over an increasingly restive
Sunni Muslim majority that is resentful
of his brutal Alawite regime. This is an
indication of the close and continuing
relationship between religion and
nationalism in the Middle East.'
Despite the vital part that Christians
and Alawites had played in the struggle
for Syrian independence, the Syrian
constitution specified that the president
must be a Sunni Muslim. Islamic law
was declared the basis of legislation.
As a result, many Syrians, inspired by
Christian and Alawite thinkers, blamed

their Sunni government for failing to
prevent the division of Palestine in 1947.
Two years later, army officers over-
threw the government. During the next
twenty years, control of the gover-
nment changed hands many times
through military revolts. Assad knows
indeed that any peace settlement with
Israel would topple his regime by using
the same pretext.
ISLAM IS a powerful political force in
Syria. The clearest example of Syria's
Muslim loyalties was Syrian acceptan-
ce of the 1939 loss of Antioch to non-
Arab, but Sunni Muslim Turkey, as con-
trasted with the generation-long refusal
to make peace with the transformation
of Palestine into a Jewish State.
For the Alawites, secular Arab
nationalism suggested a way in which
they could cease to be inferior and im-
poverished. Their grievances have
their origins in historical developmen-
ts. The Sunnis, traditionaly, have
looked down upon them as immoral

ill prevail
heretics. Their only route out of pover- every other regimi
ty was through the Army. By virtue of nor the misma
numbers, a military coup took place in economy, but sim
1965 under the leadership of Salah Ba'athist rulerst
Jadid. It put a mainly, but not ex- non-Sunnis.
clusively, Alawite Army faction, the One might sayt
left wing of the Ba'ath party, in control and 1973 wars be
of the government. Arabs lay in the n
In order for the Alawites to stay in to show their an
power, they had to demonstrate the Sunni masses. T]
Arab "greatness" by outdoing their Lebanon can par
competitors in Arab zeal and der this assumptic
fanaticism, while at the same time sup- The Alawite b
pressing any rival sectarian opposition. couraged the Sunn
For instance, early in 1967, there was them as good rul
an uprising fed by Saudi Arabian mitted mistakes f
money against an article in a Syrian repent or correct
Army Paper which slandered Prophet businesses were t
Muhammed. The article was with- Sunnis under Ja
drawn, but Jadid did not leave the in- and given back t
cident without bombarding the central Assad's economic
Mosque in Homs, the center of the riots. Syrian interventio
THE CENTRAL issue for the Ba'athist as a first non-Sun
enemies has not been the government's that, they used t
ability to make enemies of virtually behind a weak Sun

ne in the Middle East,
anagement of the
rply the fact that the'
have been by large
that the roots of 1967
tween Israel and'the
eed of SyrianAlawites
ti-zionist zeal to the
The Syrian actions in.
tly be understood un-
on.
ehavior has not en-
ni majority to think of
ers. They have com-
or which they cannot
. For instance, most
taken away from the
did's nationalization
o the Alawites under
liberalization. The
n in Jordan got Assad
ni president. Before
o be the real power
ni president.

in ssad's Syria

Assad may or may not survive in the
long-run, but only one thing is clear.
The Syrian foreign policy toward Israel
and Lebanon will be largely determined
by the Sunni-Alawite religious
animosity despite the secular ideology
of the Ba'ath.
An internal political balance between
the Sunnis and the Alawites in Syria
would balance and moderate the
politics of the whole region. A
democratic and stable government
could have a peace treaty with Israel
fearlessly. A better option would be to
disintegrate Syria into sectarian
regions providing rdom and security for
Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Druzes,
Kurds and probably a homeland for the
Palestinian refugees. For as long as
Assad is ruling, radicalism will always
prevail and spill over.

Nassif is a doctoral student in the
University's political science depar-
tment.

Assad
... resented by Sunni Muslims

die sItudetsahnfig an t
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV-No. 106

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Re-examining research

Stewart
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"W HAT'S UP," asked University
President Harold Shapiro as he
encountered members of the
Progressive Student Network who
were sitting-in at his office last week.
Well, what's up is that in response to
the PSN's action, Shapiro accepted an
invitation to appear at a public forum
that will address the issue of non-
classified research at the University.
PSN should be lauded for stimulating
such a response from the ad-
ministration, and the discussion that
results should send a clear message to
the regents- resume the debate on
military research.
Last June the regents voted to reject
a set of guidelines for non-classified
research proposed by the Research
Policies Committee and supported by
the faculty senate and the ad-
ministration. Following the decision,
and even after last November's sit-in
at Thomas Senior's radiation
laboratory,.military research was con-
sidered by most to be a dead issue. "I
think that topic was thoroughly
exhausted last year," said Billy Frye,
vice president for academic affairs
and Provost at last November's sit-in.
Many students and faculty at this

University, however, feel quite dif-
ferently. The actions of PSN and the
faculty senate's proposal for a forum
on military research prove that not
everyone is exhausted.
As fas as the regents are concerned,
to restrict non-classified research
would interfere with the academic
freedom of professors. But there are
questionable research projects in
which a concern for academic freedom
should be outweighed by the concern
that research is being conducted that
in intended for destructive purposes. If
any such research is being pursued it
should be examined by the regents,
faculty, and students-not hidden un-
der the guise of academic freedom.
The issue remains important. And
in the actions of PSN, President
Shapiro, and many faculty members,
is seen a needed willingness, if not a
demand, that this issue be kept alive.
This week's forum should be seen as
a revitalization of a campus debate
which continues although the regents
would perhaps have it otherwise. Many
voices are calling for a closer
examination of the role of military
research at this University, and it is
time for the regents to lend an ear.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Recalling unpopular representation

-

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The following is a response to
the editorial "Recall fever'"
(Daily, February4).
To the Daily:
If the editors of the Daily would
bother to read the Michigan Con-
stitution' instead of misleading
Free Press editorials, they would
know that the Constitution states
that recalls shall be made for
political reasons. Illegal ac-
tivities (malfeasance) come un-
der the impeachment process.
It seems to me that every
registered voter in the 8th and 9th
Senate districts had the chance to
vote in the recall and special
elections. Close to 70 percent of
those voting, voted to boot the
Senators and close to 70 percent
voted for anti-tax successors.
The Daily's claim that the recall
election "wasn't as widely
publicized as" the general elec-
tion is ridiculous. Anyway, Phil
Mastin lost by 10,000 votes. If
twice as many had voted, he
would have lost by 20,000 votes.
The Daily believes so strongly
in the will of the people.. Then
when the people throw two
Senators out of office for
disobeying the will of the people,
the Daily starts to whine about
populism run' amuck. Forgive
me, I used to think that we lived
in a democracy. Or is this a
democracy only when the people
,support the Daily's programs?
It's ironic that the Daily calls

thinking. Unlike Mastin and
Serotkin, Sederburg decided to
represent his constituents. He is
in no danger.
. The ultimate obscenity is the
Daily's characterization of recall
supporters, as people with

Sweetness leaves sour taste

To The Daily,
I am writing in response to the
photo story "Sideline Sweet-
ness"(Daily, February 5) on the
Michigan Pompon Squad tryouts.
I found the Daily's coverage ex-
tremely sexist and irresponsible.
Of the four photos, only two
showed women actually perfor-
ming. Three were blatant objec-
tifications of some part of the
female anatomy-legs, buttocks,
or breasts. The fourth managed
to portray the supposed com-
petition between all women. The
Daily may have intended to tell
BLOOM COUNTY

us about the tryouts, but instead
used the event as a means of
denigrating half of its readers.
I have no problems with the
Daily doing a story on the
tryouts. I do have a problem with
the Daily passing off photos of
parts of women's bodies as
responsible photo journalism.
Sexual exploitation is unfor-
tunately everpresent in today's
society. However, instead of con-
tinuing the practice, The Daily
has a responsibility to its readers
to uphold certain basic standards,
such as viewing all people as

equals. I doubt that a photo story
of the men's cheerleading squad
would have quite the same focus,
if, in fact, the Daily would even
consider doing one.
The Daily owes the sixty-two
women who tried out, and all
women, an apology for treating
them as objects. With that, I
hope that for the future more
responsibility will be taken in its
portrayal of women.
Jean Cilik
-February 6
Cilik is a senior in LSA.
by Berke Breathed

"selfish secular concerns." Since
when is it selfish to want to keep
the money one earns through
one's own work? Is anyone from
the Daily willing to come forward
and contribute their earnings of
the previous year to the cause of

unselfishness? I'll gladly wait
(and wait) for an answer.
Steve Angelotti
-February 4
Angelotti is a Rackham
graduate student.

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