Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 May 2021
Chapter 8 traces the downfall of Tawhid and analyzes in particular what led so many members to mobilize during their doomed struggles against the Syrian army in mid-1985 and late 1986. These two battles were framed as ideological conflicts pitting fundamentalist militants against partisans of a secular order and the chapter acknowledges the role of ideology, whether embraced sincerely or instrumentally, as it allowed for the enlistment of new Islamist recruits at the height of the fighting and for support from external Islamist allies. Yet it also notes that virtually all Tawhid factions mobilized, including those who were less or not ideologically committed. It argues that this stemmed from the movement’s ability to cast the battles as part of a local collective duty in line with Tripoli’s history as a rebel city. It also resulted from its readiness to enlist the support of neighborhood strongmen who were connected to their communities by strong ties of solidarity and were thus able to draw in many locals. Despite Tawhid’s success at mobilizing so many members, however, the Syrian army and its allies were too strong to be beaten and they ultimately defeated the movement in bloodshed.
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