Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the influential Qatar-based Islamic scholar, recently preached that the “train of the Arab revolution” had arrived in Syria. Syria could well be ripe for upheaval. Like Egypt and Libya, it has been run by a single family, one that lacks the legitimacy of a bona fide monarchy, for 40 years. And like Bahrain, Syria is ruled by a minority: its controlling elite (the Alawi sect of Shi’ite Islam) represents less than 15 per cent of the total population of just over 22 million.
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