Did Four Alawi Clans Dissociate themselves from the Assads, as the Opposition Claims? Not likely.

French Mandate Syria in 1923

Mohja Kahf writes in the Guardian that

“Four of seven major Alawite clans (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, Khayyatiya), nonetheless issued statements dissociating themselves from the Assads.”

This cannot be true. I have always admired Mohja Kahf’s poetry and outspoken courage. She is a founding member of the National Initiative for Change.” But I don’t know where she would have gotten this intelligence?

Alawite tribes hardly have any integrity anymore and don’t have “leaders” who can speak for “the clan” in order to dissociate them from the Assads. In naming her first clan, Mohja goes wrong. She names the Nuwaliya clan. There is no Nuwaliya tribe or clan. She undoubtedly means the Numaylatiya tribe.

The last head of the Numaylatiya was Ali Sulayman al-Ahmad, the brother of Bedawi al-Jabal and son of Sulayman al-Ahmad, the great ash-shaykh al-`allama’. Sulayman was at his most powerful during the years of the French Mandate, when he refused to be drawn into French plans to have the Alawi religion declared a separate religion from Islam.

Shaykh Sulayman was no dupe of the French and traditional separatist tribal shaykhs. When French troops first entered Latakia they appointed him chief judge of the Alawi state. But when they asked him to announce that the Alawis were not Muslims, Shaykh Sulayman resigned and told the French, “We are Alawi Muslims. Our book is the Quran. Our prophet is Muhammad. The Ka`ba is our qibla, and our religion is Islam.” [`Abd al‑Latif al‑Yunis, Mudhakkirat al‑Duktur `Abd al‑Latif al‑Yunis, Damascus: Dar al‑`Ilm, 1992, p. 63.] He was given the title of “servant of the Prophet’s Household” (Khadim ahl-il-bayt).

In 1938 Shaykh Sulayman was recognized as a Syrian nationalist hero by the Sunni governor of Latakia, Ihsan al‑Jabri. Dignitaries from Lebanon, Damascus, and Iraq attended the celebration held at the Shanata theater in Latakia. An anthology of Shaykh Sulayman’s poetry and writings was published for the occasion by `Abd al‑Latif al‑Yunis. It was the biggest celebration Latakia had ever seen. Most of the Alawi tribal leaders opposed the holding of the celebration. They tried to dissuade Sulayman from acting as a dupe of Ihasn al-Jabri and the Sunni nationalists. Yunis writes that the “reactionaries and feudalists” did everything in their power to put a stop to the celebration claiming that the entire affair was being masterminded by Governor Ihsan al‑Jabri and the nationalists. They called for a boycott of the ceremonies and “threatened and menaced its supporters in the most malicious way.” Their efforts were in vain, however, for Shaykh Sulayman refused to be talked out of his golden jubilee.

The only trouble came in the morning when a Christian sitting in the back of the hall yelled out something about “sectarianism” and the “Christian minority” making all sorts of “inappropriate insinuations.” In response the editor of an Islamic journal jumped to his feet and proclaimed:

“The word `minority’ is a vicious attempt by the colonialists to sew dissension in our ranks. We are one people. There are no differences between us. Our brothers the Christians preceded us in this country, and they have a greater right to be here than we. Therefore, there is no minority or majority among us; we are all one Arab people.”[Ibid., p. 62.]

How familiar this tension and these slogans seem today.

Not one great Sunni theologian attended Shaykh Sulayman’s celebration however. Syrian religious scholars were not prepared to accept the Alawis as true Muslims.

There was considerable tension within the Alawi community over the notion of unity with Syria in 1936, which was mandated by the Franco-Syrian treaty of that year. Part of this tension was the fear that Sunnis would discriminate against Alawis in their courts, as had happened in the past. Under Ottoman law, Alawis were refused the right to give testimony in court because they were not considered to be Mulisms or People of the Book.

One infamous case was decided in 1932 and caused an uproar within the Alawi community. A Sunni who had produced children with both a Sunni and Alawi wife died. A conflict ensued between the Alawi and Sunni children over the proper distribution of the inheritance. During the trial the lawyer of the Sunni children argued that the Alawi half‑brothers should receive nothing because they were not Muslim. The Sunni judge decided in their favor and awarded not a piaster to the Alawi children. Because of this precedent, the shaykhs in the Alawi territory were fearful that political unity in 1936 would undermine their separate judicial system and expose them to the prejudices of Hanafi law. The treaty sparked demands by Alawi shaykhs to have their religion accepted by the Syrian state as Islam.

In the next two years from 1936 to 1939, Alawi religious leaders published a number of pamphlets declaring that Alawis were Shiites and that any Alawi who did not recognize Islam as his religion and the Quran as his holy book would not be considered an Alawi according to the Shari`a and that the Alawis belonged to the Ja`fari madhhab. They quoted suras from the Quran to demonstrate that they accepted the oneness of God and assured Syrians that they added nothing to Him and worshiped only Allah. The titles of these works leave little doubt about their content. Some of the titles are: “Under the Banner `There is No God but God;'” “Decidedly, religion with God is Islam;” “The Alawis between Muslims and Islam;” “The Alawis are Shiites;” “The Alawis are Shiites of the House of `Ali: Declaration of the Beliefs of the Alawis.” [ See, Hashim Uthman, Al‑`Alawiyyun bayn al‑Ustura wa al‑Haqiqa,” Beirut: Mu’assasat al‑`Ajami, 1980. Others are mentioned in [Muhammad Ghalib al‑Tawil, Tarikh al‑`Alawiyyin, Beirut: Dar al‑Nahas, 2nd ed., 1966, pp. 43‑45; and Moosa, Extremist Shiites, p. 416.]

Only in 1952 under Adib Shishakli did the Syrian government make its first tentative move to recognize Alawi shaykhs as legitimate Muslims by issuing a decree declaring it lawful for those of them “that wished” to “dress in religious clothing in the manner of the Ja`fari madhhab (school). [Al‑`Alawi, Al‑`Alawiyyun, pp. 43‑49.]

Shiite scholars were no less reluctant to admit the Alawites into their ranks. The first delegation of thirteen Alawite boys to go to Najaf to study at the great Shiite university was not until 1948, and then, none of the students managed to complete their studies. The students claimed that “they were treated very badly by some of the men of religion as soon as they arrived. They were told that they had to enter into Islam and perform the ritual ablutions of repentance (ghusl al‑tuba). In addition, they were castigated for being extremists (ghulat). [Ibid., p. 39.] The first sign of progress for the Alawite claim to belong to the Shiite faith came in 1956 when the Ayatollah al‑Sayyid Muhsin al‑Hakim of Najaf delegated a Shiite living in Lebanon to study the Alawites. He wrote a report which portrayed the Alawites as true Shiite Muslims, although he was dismayed that they were lax in regarding Islamic religious duties and had no mosques. In the same year the Mufti of Syria agreed to license Alawite shaykhs to teach their faith and to wear the religious garb which the Syrian government had authorized them to wear four years earlier. [Moosa, Extremist Shiites, pp. 415‑417.]

Shaykh Sulayman taught his daughter how to read and write, and she later became the first women doctor in the muhafaza of Latakia. This was an amazing accomplishment because “the popular masses and even the elite of Alawite society did not look favorably on such a forward looking practice. Education for women in the region was considered a crime and sacrilegious; it was viewed to be foreign to tradition and religion.” [Yunis., pp. 49 & 56.]

Shaykh Sulayman’s (oldest son?), Dr. Ahmad Sulayman al-Ahmad, was a dissident who led the Democratic National Party. He was not believed to be particularly religious.

When Shaykh Sulayman died, his son, Ali Sulayman al-Ahmad inherited the leadership of the Numaylatiya. He was the last leader of the tribe. When he died in the 1990s, the leadership of the Numaylatiya passed to no one.

Hasan, a son of Ali and a PhD from Germany in Computer Science, was asked to step into his father’s role as head of the `ashira. He refused the position, claiming that he did not want to accept zakat (money) as part of the mashyakha.

As far as I know, no one became head of the Numaylatiya after Ali. If there is a clan leader, someone please correct me. It may be that the Assad government has discouraged the emergence of strong tribal leaders within the Alawi community. But the disappearance of tribal and communal leaders is a phenomenon that transcends the Alawi community. The Druze have no replacement for their Paramount Shaykh, Mansour al-Atrash, who died a few years ago.

Anyway, tribal affiliation has become quite weak among many Alawis during the last several generations. Many Alawis of the Banyas and Latakia plains have no tribal affiliation at all. For others, even in the high mountains, it means very little. To have one of their shaykhs denounce the Assads would not have a decisive influence on most Alawis. But more than that, Mohja would have to name these clan leaders for us to assess them or even believe that they exist. It is not clear whether an Alawi “clan” could be an operative social unit in today’s political context.

If we have any Alawis reading, who can enlighten us about tribes and clans withing the Alawi community, I would love to hear from them.

Comments (37)

Vedat The Turk said:

@Dr Landis

With all due respect it’s a bit disingenuous to ask Mohja to name names. This would place the people who made the declarations in great danger. I can appreciate your point that for the report to have credibility it has to include greater specificity.

Personally I found the Mohja article to be a bit of a stretch but it probably reflects fears fely by many Alawites. Here they are being lead by a man who when faced with his first real challenge is proving to be a weak and incompetent leader.

June 1st, 2011, 8:03 pm


why-discuss said:

“Four of seven major Alawite clans (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, Khayyatiya), nonetheless issued statements dissociating themselves from the Assads.”

Where can we find these statements?

June 1st, 2011, 8:41 pm


Friend in America said:

The world now knows you are facing evil. If you doubt this, ask Hamza.

You are Syria’s future. Syria cannot get along without you. The government in Damascus stupidly decided Syria’s future was its enemy. Damascus will fall. It may take time, weeks, months or years, but fall it will.

The army needs to change sides. The officers command nothing if the soldiers will not obey orders to kill. You need signs in your demonstrations facing the soldiers:
“Do not Shoot…We have no Guns…Join Us “
“Do not Shoot…. We are Syria’s Future”
“We are your Friends… Come over to Our Side”
“The Assad Government is Evil…Ask Hamza…Join Us”. “
”Do you know someone who has been tortured?… Join Us”

Peoples throughout the world know what your struggle is like. They know the danger, whether in South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt or Libya. America also. It fought a civil war for 4 years to end slavery. In this century the civil rights movement corrected what the civil war failed to change. Those causes were worthy. Your cause is worthy. You are special.

June 1st, 2011, 9:11 pm


Friend in America said:

My title to #3 is “A Message to Those What Have Taken To the Streets”

I was interrupted by a serious thunder storm and my edit time ran out. Sorry.

June 1st, 2011, 9:26 pm


nafdik said:

I hope what is reported is true.

I think that a lot of the flagrant atrocities are targeted not only at frightening the Syrian people but to make the alliance with the regime irreversible.

Like any mafia the way to create loyalty is to make sure that your collaborators are as involved as you in incriminating activity so that they can not break the alliance with you.

The Assads want to destroy the reputation of the army and of the allawi community so that both feel that if Assads fall they will be targeted.

June 1st, 2011, 9:27 pm


why-discuss said:

Friend in America

A sound from Heaven interrupted your pep talk to lure soldiers against the government, do you think it is a sign ? You were talking about Evil…


“The Assads want to destroy the reputation of the army and of the allawi community so that both feel that if Assads fall they will be targeted.”

Very very far fetched analysis, sorry,

June 1st, 2011, 9:38 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Friend in America
If America was a Muslim nation ,and If Aroor and Karadawi were involved in the civil war there ,you will be ridding a camel now instead of driving.

So if you wipe out this mafia ,what is the surprise you have for the syrians:is it Taifur or is it Aroor or is it Shafka or is it the Pony tail kid or is it kaddam or is it Ribal or is it Ayman abd nur or is it
Artooz…. Your closet is empty all you have is different kinds of mafia:religiuos.dark,hateful,angry,stupid,satanic.

June 1st, 2011, 9:47 pm


why-discuss said:

If anyone forecasts that Syria economy will suffer if Bashar Al Assad stays in power, just read what is happening to Egypt with growing pressure about its business relation with Israel after the successful revolution.

Dispute Grows as Egyptian Gas Is Still Not Flowing to Israel


The American company threatening the $8 billion lawsuit is Ampal, whose chairman and chief executive officer is Yosef A. Maiman, also owner of the Israeli company Merhav, another partner in EMG. Another American company involved is EGI, controlled by Sam Zell, a Chicago-based businessman. The EGI letter that was sent to the Egyptian authorities accused them of “failing to provide EMG with full protection and security” for its investment and “refusing to resume delivery of gas to EMG.”

June 1st, 2011, 9:55 pm


aboali said:

الثورة القطرية ضد الشيخ حمد: المسخرة الحصرية على قناة ‘الدنيا’!


June 1st, 2011, 9:59 pm


am231 said:

Mohja Kahf is a delusionist!
She wish such thing to happen, in her dreams
She thinks that by publishing fake news, they’ll reach to the collapse of the Asad regime
So, all what I can say on her article is: No Comment!

June 1st, 2011, 10:09 pm


Norman said:

If the oppositions do not accept the gestures by the president and the Baath party, and i believe that multiparty system and abolition of article 8 are coming , then there will be nothing for the Baath party , army and the president to give , at that time if the world community does not push the opposition to accept and they do not , Syria will fall in a civil war as The Baath party, the army and the president will never accept defeat and dissolution of these institutions, Syria is going the way of Algeria without the Western help.

June 1st, 2011, 10:36 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

There are reports that Gaddafi is about to leave,days not months,

June 1st, 2011, 10:39 pm


sufian Kardahi said:

to Syria No Kandahar
what an obnoxious logic? The regime and people like you kill any potential leadership through the years and destroy the civil institutions. when all the destruction is done you complain that there is no one is worth alternative.
So Aref Dalia, Aktham Naise, michel kilo are salafis :-).

June 1st, 2011, 10:56 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis:

A little off topic if I may:

During the previous post, you quoted Mr. Mohammed Saeed Bkheitan saying that there are 2.8 million Baath party members. Even If one assumes that half of these members are married with an average of 3 children, it means that 25% of Syrians have a Baath member as head of the household. If one assumes that all 2.8 million are married with three children then almost 50% of all Syrians have a Baath affiliation. There are 5 million “households” in Syria. Potentially, close to 50% of them are Baathists.

June 1st, 2011, 11:04 pm


daleandersen said:

We all knew the Mukhabarat were vicious and brutal. Now we know they’re stupid to the point of incompetence. Congratulations, Mukhabarat, you just gave the opponents of the regime a most precious gift. Lesson for the future: if you’re going to kill little girls and boys, dipshits, get rid of the bodies. Jesus! Talk about stupid!

The battered, broken body of Hamza al-Khateeb: his jaw and both kneecaps had been smashed. His flesh was covered with cigarette burns. His penis had been cut off. Other injuries appeared to be consistent with the use of electroshock devices and being whipped with a cable.

If Bashar fails to put the bastards who did this on trial IMMEDIATELY, he might as well pack his bags and head for Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan or whatever third-world shit hole will accept his sorry ass…


June 1st, 2011, 11:06 pm


why-discuss said:


“whatever third-world shit hole will accept his sorry ass”


June 1st, 2011, 11:10 pm


Habib said:

Hello Dr. Landis, thank you for the very interesting and informative article on `Alawi history.

I am `Alawi myself and your article intrigued me so I asked my dad about tribes and if he knew anything about them. My family, on both sides, comes from Antakya during the Ottoman occupation, and most moved into some cities (mainly Aleppo, Latakia, Tartous, and some in Damascus too) after Liwa’ Iskanderon was formally given to Turkey thanks to a phony referendum.

I asked my dad about the four tribes mentioned in Kahf’s article (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, Khayyatiya) and he says he has heard of Nuwaliya (but pronounced it Nuwailiya), Haddadiya, and Khayyatiya for sure. Kalbiya was a “maybe”. He said he doesn’t remember Numaylatiya, though. My dad was born and grew up in the city of Aleppo and his parents did not have property in any village (dhay`a) so obviously he is not a great source about the different `Alawi tribes. However, one interesting thing to note is that my dad is Haidari and his “uncle in religion” (the sheikh that teaches boys about religion at a certain age) is Klazi, from Al `Imran in a dhay`a called tlai`i (6lai3i) in Tartous. I think that is a good indication that tribalism is not really important anymore. In fact, the difference between Klazi and Haidari is one minor “embarrassing” thing. The differences between all the tribes are very trivial and caused by various sheikhs (or “uncles”), whether intentionally or not. As you said in your article, `Alawis tend to be lax about religious observances, and so those differences between tribes have been largely without consequence. Today tribal “loyalties” are not strong outside the individual villages, and when it comes to internal political matters, it is ever weaker.

I, unfortunately, moved out of Syria before reaching that age so I do not have an uncle in religion and I can’t give any personal accounts.

I can, however, tell you, for sure, that Kahf’s declaration is clearly a farce. I hope her article reminds you to question what many “respectful” authors have been writing in the papers, including people like Anthony Shadid and Robert Fisk. There is a real foreign media campaign of incitement aimed at dividing people into smaller groups by making them suspicious of each other. Although most `Alawis in villages can’t read English, many Arabic news outlets recycle this material, with emphasis, and make it accessible to them as part of propaganda campaigns aimed at breaking the national unity from within.

One of the most obvious examples of this practice is the way they have tried to raise suspicions about Kurds, although most Syrians know we never had problems with our Kurdish brothers and sisters, and in fact, the Kurds were instrumental in our fights over water with Turkey. Syria has never massacred Kurds (unlike Iraq and Turkey) and Kurds live among other Syrians in harmony, and by extending the citizenship to the ajaneb Kurds (an issue that not many Syrians knew about), I don’t see why the Kurds, as a group, would decide they don’t like Bashar. I just wanted to say this so the Syrian readers remember the Kurds are not our enemies, and despite claims of foreign media, only around 10 (maybe 20) thousand Kurds consistently protested (out of around 2 million Kurds) and they have been largely peaceful and civilized.

Dr. Landis, you have `Alawi family connections and I’m sure you can confirm that `Alawis have no reason to abandon Bashar, especially seeing that Sunnis haven’t either. It should be fairly clear that Sunnis haven’t abandoned Bashar because even if just half of them had done so, Bashar would have been toppled in just a couple of weeks. The rebels’ only chance was for the army to act against the regime, and they killed that possibility the moment they decided to attack and ambush soldiers very early on. Almost everyone wants this to end and go back to their normal lives in safety and stability.

souria allah 7amiha

June 1st, 2011, 11:36 pm


Louai said:

i hope mahmood will not see the map above, he would have a heart attack.

in Homs we know that 3alaween living in the villages north east of the city are relatively in the opposition side just like the ones in Salamya ,but that was BEFORE ‘the revolution’
Now the decent opposition is silent and calling for reform and dialogue lead by Bashar Assad,
the strength of ‘the revolution’ is the sectarian thinking of the poor uneducated young Syrians because its easy to manipulate and if succeeded could gather significant number on the streets
but the weakness of ‘the revolution’ is exactly the same sectarian nature
my advice is ,the less people like 3ar3oor jump ups and down on the TV and preach us politics ,the more decent opposition will sympathy ‘the revolution’ ,did I say something new? No ,they know it and unwilling to apply .

Friend in America , do you know who is 3ar3oor?

June 1st, 2011, 11:40 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

I didn’t kill any one,I don’t follow Aroor and Artooz and Karadawi, and I am not iterested in heaven if they were going to be in it.
Killo is only good for tarneeb,if you listen to his last views he is 100%against chaos.if the evil of extrimism takes over the land,killo will be tarneeb,instead of playing it.As far Aktham he is ناعس which is a problem,because MB eyes are open day and night and they are making there swords sharper.
The point is it is no brainer that the alternative is Religious which is what you want,Non Secular Syria will be a HELL.

June 1st, 2011, 11:44 pm


Louai said:

Aref Dalia, Aktham Naise, michel kilo are NOT salafis therefore they have no influence on the people on the streets, shame !

June 1st, 2011, 11:52 pm


Alescander said:

Thank you Dr Landis for the best ever research on the alawis tribal nuances.
In support of what Josh said, that the Numaylatyia has no leader is true, the persons he mentioned : Dr Joumana الله يمد بعمرها and Hasan the son of the late Dr Ali are my relatives
I also support what Josh said about Dr Ahmad al Ahmad , a damascus university professor of literature , who initially was with Rafaat , then fled Syria and became a dissident . When he wrote a scathing poem against Pres Hafez al Assad , his brother , Dr Ali sent a telegram of support to pres Hafez , distancing himself from his brother’s actions
The bottom-line is that the alawis are not as tribal as they have been in the past

June 2nd, 2011, 12:36 am


Joshua said:


Many thanks for your kind words and confirmation.

Habib, Thank you as well. Antakiya or Antioch in Alexandretta – now called the Hatay by Turkey – has a very special history and place in Alawi social geography. Antioch was the only city in which Alawis and Sunnis lived together. It had a much more urban and thus educated Alawi population even before the French conquered Syria.

This is why such distinguished and nationalist families come from Antioch. Two of interest are Zaki Arsuzi, founder of the Baath, and Imad Moustapha, Syria’s present ambassador in Washington.

In the coastal provinces of Syria there was no town of over 250 inhabitants in which Sunnis and Alawis lived together before 1920. The demographic segregation and prejudice of Syria was very sharp.

Those who claim that sectarianism was created by the Assad regime or by the Baath Party are simply ignoring history, I would argue.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:31 am


S.A. said:

To Joshua and Habib,

Strong nationalist feelings towards Syria are still running stong in Antakia even now. My father came from there and he left a huge fortune and inheritance to go down south and to stay Syrian when Antakia and Iskandaron were annexed to Turkey. What led him south were his very strong nationalistic feelings and his pride in being and staying Syrian. His sisters all stayed, but their children (my cousins) who are very well established in Turkey, highly educated and well off, still come down to Syria regularly and they have even started several big projects in Lattakia and other places in Syria because of their stong sense of belonging to Syria.

I also would like to confirm that what Joshua wrote about the Alawis and the Sunnis living together with no problem in Antioch at that time is correct. Not only was it the Alawis and the Sunnis who lived together with no problems but the Christians and the Jews too. My mother remembers these things very distinctly and talks about them with great pride. The other issue that we cannot ignore and which makes the claim that the government is trying to provoke sectarianism such a weak one, is the fact that Assad himself is married to a Sunni and so are several other members of his own family. I personaly have many members of my family who are married to people from different religions and sects. I think that in general most people in Syria are accepting of other religions. It seems clearly that those who are trying to stir problems to try and destabilize the government are the ones who are trying to stir this very sensitive issue. I believe and hope that most Syrians will resist being drawn into such a war.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:56 am


Adam said:

These clans have symbolic significance these days. However, as an Alawii, I still see the article as a reflection of the truth because many Alawiis intellectuals from different clans share the same disgust and disrespect to the Assad family and its Shabiha…..

Sectarianism is not created by the Assad regime, but it enforced and fueled by the Assad regime….. Many Alawiis are aware of this and they refuse to be dragged to the regime game or to be pushed back to the fifties…….. There are Alawiis that are worried from potential revenge. This may happen. However, we have a chance of stopping it from happening by reminding people that the regime is not Alawii and doesn’t protect Alawii…The regime only protects itself.

This poem was written by an Alawii in the 1980s…. A lot of Alawiis share his view….

ماذا أقول و قول الحق الحق يعقبه ===== جلد السياط و سجن مظلم رطب
و إن كذبت فإن الكذب يسحقني ===== معاذ ربي أن يعزى لي الكذب
و إن سكت فإن الصمت نقمة ===== و إن كان بالصمت نور الحق يحتجب
لكنني و مصير الشعب يدفعني ===== سأنطق الحق إن شاؤوا و إن غضبوا
أيقبل البعث أن تثري زحائفه ===== بإسم النضال ثراء ما له سبب
من أين جاؤوا به حقاَ و معظمهم ===== ما زانهم أبداً علما و لا أدب
و لا تشقق كف فوق معوله ===== بالحقل و لا أضناهم تعب
ما تجلى على أيدهم هدفا ===== و لا تحررت الجولان و النقب
هل السماء بكت من فوقهم فرحاً ===== فراح يهطل منها المال و الذهب
لا يكذبوا إنها أموال أمتنا و من ===== غذاء بنيها كل ما سلبوا
البعث يبرأ من لص يلوذ به ===== أو مستغل تحسب البعث ينتسب
و لا نقول على أموالهم أبداً ===== فإنهم على أمرهم و الله قد غلبوا
كم قد سمعنا بهيئات تحاسبهم ===== لتسترد إلى الجمهور ما نهبوا
فما رأينا سوى قول بلا عمل ===== لا بل تهكم من إعجابه العجب
علا برتبته لص و رتبته ===== من سوئه خجلت و إنحطت الرتب
لأخجل أن أحصي معايبهم ===== ذهبت سجال العيب و النصب
قيل النقابات قلنا أنها كذب ===== كم لعبة بمصير الشعب قد لعبوا
إختاروا لكل قطاع لاعباً حذقاً ===== و نصبوه نقيبا بئس من نصبوا
و مجلس الشعب يعرفهم و يعرف===== الشعب هل جاؤوا أم إنتخبوا
قالوا و جبهتنا قلنا لقد صدقوا ====== يوم البيان ما قالوا و ما كتبوا
إذ قال قائلهم فينا سماسرة ====== ساروا بما يقتضيه العرض و الطلب
لم يصدقوا بحديث غيره أبداً ====== و ما عداه لعمري كله كذب
سيعلمون جميعا أي منقلب ====== يوم الحساب بما قالوا هم إنقلبوا
قالوا حماة عماها الحق و إضطربت ===== يا للعجب عرين البعث يضطرب
لو يذكرون حماة الأمس و ما فعلت ===== بالظالمين و بالإقطاع لانتحبوا
فكانت و كان بنوها خير من ===== رفعوا للبعث راية خفاقة تجب
لما رأووكم نكبتم عن مبادئكم ====== فإنهم شرفا عن حبكم نكبوا
ألم تكن حلب الشهباء ساحتنا ===== ألم تضحي بحكم الفرديا حلب
أم كان فيك و فيها حفنة جهلوا ===== و الجهل يصدر فيهم أينما ذهبوا
كانت حماة منارا للنضال و في ===== شهبائنا سطعت الظلمة و الشهب
مباحث السوء شاؤوا أن تسببوا ===== بها نار الخلاف و قد أغراهم اللهب
قلت لهم و جراح الحزن تؤلمها ====== لا تحكموا الخلاف كلنا عرب
آل الفقيد أعزاء محنتكم محنة ====== الشعب لا تجدي به الخطب
سيسقط الغيث في أرض و قد ظمئت ======= و ينجلي الليل و الكابوس و السحب
و يبقى مدى الدهر صوت لا بديل ======= الله أكبر كلنا عرب.

June 2nd, 2011, 6:08 pm


Dr Mohja Kahf said:

Wow, Josh. Just noticed this, as I am not a regular reader of your regime apologia blog. 😛 Where did I get it? Those statements of disavowals by the tribes were published in several locations, months ago, including on the syrianintifada FB page.

Where have *you* been, man? Obviously not keeping up with the discourse. 🙂 Get with the program.

Here are some links where these disavowals are affirmed, and there are others that require sifting through Facebook pages, where the documents signed by the tribes were certainly and most definitely posted; I read them there.

1. http://www.barada.tv/19-177-6-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7.aspx

2. (Wahed Saker reiterates the disassociation of 4 Alawite clans at a London rally; the text/ document of disassociation had been published on Facebook earlier): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN1TjlXCHGc

3. Re Alawites being forced to be bussed to pro-regime demonstration: http://syrianrevolutiondigest.blogspot.com/2011/05/transitioning.html


June 9th, 2011, 7:09 pm


Syria's Ruling Alawite Sect - NYTimes.com said:

[…] Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, explained in a blog post about the Alawites this month: There was considerable tension within the Alawi community over the […]

June 14th, 2011, 5:38 pm


The Lede: Syria’s Ruling Alawite Sect | Latest Updates said:

[…] Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, explained in a blog post about the Alawites this month: There was considerable tension within the Alawi community over the […]

June 14th, 2011, 6:37 pm


The Lede: Syria’s Ruling Alawite Sect | See ads said:

[…] Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, explained in a blog post about the Alawites this month: There was considerable tension within the Alawi community over the […]

June 14th, 2011, 7:46 pm


Syria Comment » Archives » “What do Sunnis intend for Alawis following regime change?” by Khudr said:

[…] Mohja Kahf has similarly written that “four of seven major Alawite clans (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, Khayyatiya), issued statements dissociating themselves from the Assads.” (See my response to this: “Did Four Alawi Clans Dissociate themselves from the Assads, as the Opposition Claims? Not likely.”) […]

June 18th, 2011, 9:36 am


Daliah alawi | Luxe4you said:

[…] Syria Comment » Archives » Did Four Alawi Clans Dissociate …Jun 1, 2011 … Most of the Alawi tribal leaders opposed the holding of the celebration. ….. So Aref Dalia, Aktham Naise, michel kilo are salafis . … […]

July 21st, 2011, 6:44 am


Jesus Castillo | Culturismo sin Tonterias said:

These clans have symbolic significance these days. However, as an Alawii, I still see the article as a reflection of the truth because many Alawiis intellectuals from different clans share the same disgust and disrespect to the Assad family and its Shabiha

August 19th, 2011, 10:45 pm


aumi | seguros baratos said:

I love the poem by an Alawii posted by ADAM, thank you

October 3rd, 2011, 5:15 am


Hasan said:

I am an Alawi from Antioch. I have many relatives in the alawite communities of Turkey including those in Mersin, Tarsus, Iskenderun (Alexandretta), Arsuz and Samandag, many of whom I do not know personally. I also visited Syria and am told I have relatives in Latakia, Homs, Damascus, and Aleppo. I am responding to Ms. Kahf and Mr. Landis’ claims regarding Alawite tribes. The truth is as far as I know, there is no such a thing as an Alawite tribe. This is just simply a reflection of modernization, educational attainment, and the prevalence of an urban lifestyle which weakened the traditional intra-communal links. I am about 50 yrs of age and never heard of “tribes”. Even close family relationships are non-existent. I have many relatives that I do not know and could not recognize even if I saw them on the street. I live in the USA and some of my relatives are scattered in Europe including Norway, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, and the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. So much for the “tribes”!

November 10th, 2011, 12:43 pm


Joshua said:

Dear Hasan, Many thanks for these observations. The Alawis of Antioch plain have traditionally been much more urban and well integrated than those of the mountain, which explains the lack of tribal affiliation. In the areas south of Latakia, most Alawis know which tribe they come from, although it means very little in terms of actual loyalties and daily life. As Alawis moved to the cities, most traces of tribal affiliation have been lost as happened in the Antioch region some time ago. Best to you, Joshua

November 11th, 2011, 9:08 am


Iyad said:


i came to this article by accident . it is interesting topic. However, it was not informative for a person who raised up in Syria, in specific in Latakia.Moreover, some facts was not complete. For instance (Why you said Four Clans? is that the correct number?)

Alwites in syria are many Tribes and Clans. Also divided into different religious types. As well as different ethnic groups.

waiting to hear from you Joush
Best regards

April 12th, 2014, 4:11 am


Hasan Ali said:


so i am an Alawi from Mersin, Turkey and i just can say that nearly every Alawi in Turkey is connected to one other, the families know each other very well whether from Mersin, Adana, Iskenderun or Antakya.

The Alawis are just “Alawis”, they don’t divide between their people. Maybe there were tribes a few centuries ago, like arabs always were organized in tribes (Bani Asad, Banu Tamim etc.), but nowadays there are no political tribe-leaders.

We have our shaykhs for religious ceremonies and meetings but they are not head or leader of the community, they are keepers of our religion and culture, not more… Peace and Love to all !

December 26th, 2015, 5:36 pm


Nancy said:

Id like to know the difference between alawite haidari and alawite klazi

April 22nd, 2020, 7:15 am


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