Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 May 2021
Chapter 7 considers the international relations of Tawhid, accounting for the factors behind its recurring tensions with the Syrian regime as well as its foreign alliances with Syrian Islamists, Fatah and Iran. It points to the role of the handful of Tawhid cadres who, as a result of their strong commitment to Islamist ideology, became the principle handlers of the movement’s foreign alliances with like-minded Islamist actors such as Iran. This, it claims, at first reinforced their influence within Tawhid, which they used in order to push its discourse and behaviour in an ideological direction and to make shared ideology the cornerstone of the movement’s foreign alliances with like-minded actors. But the chapter remarks that, as their influence became too strong and their ambition to turn Tawhid into a movement only driven by ideology clashed with the priorities of other factions, a heated debate gripped the movement and violence ensued, leading to the killing of several of them. And, tellingly, the period of late 1984 and early 1985, which corresponds to the decline in the influence of these ideologized cadres, also matches with a Tawhid behavior less driven by ideology than before, as it engaged in criminal practices and as its foreign relations turned more pragmatic.
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