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Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

21. The Onset of the Syrian Uprising and the Origins of Violence  

Reinoud Leenders

This chapter examines the early stages of mass mobilization in Syria that sparked the Arab uprisings. Starting from December 2010 in Tunisia, Arabs from various walks of life took to the streets in protest against decades-long authoritarian rule, repression, and corruption in what came to be known as the Arab uprisings, or Arab Spring. These waves of protest reached Syria in March 2011. While Syria’s protests initially were largely peaceful, they soon gave way to violence, which culminated in an armed insurgency by the end of 2011 and, combined with regime brutality, a civil war. Before explaining how, when, and why the uprisings happened, the chapter provides a short history of growing popular discontent that resulted in the onset of the Syrian uprisings. It then analyses the roots of the uprising’s militarization and the ensuing popular mobilization and concludes with an assessment of the Syrian civil war.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

20. Genocide and Human Rights  

Scott Straus

This chapter examines the ramifications of genocide for human rights. Genocide is one of the most extreme forms of human rights violations, but its definition has been the subject of considerable debate. In recent years, there have been efforts to develop a better policy on genocide prevention. This chapter evaluates various definitions of genocide as well as some of the weak points of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, also known as the Genocide Convention. It also discusses theories of why genocide occurs and concludes with case studies of Rwanda and Darfur, both of which describe the background to the mass violence in both locations, as well as the international responses.