They say Syria is in the middle of a civil war.
Now what on Earth is that?
There are two answers to that question, a broader and a narrower one:
Linguists tend to favor a balanced approach:
“A war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country”
‘Political scientists’ tend to favor the established power:
“Armed conflict between a government and another group from within the same country.”
“A civil war” is “an armed conflict that meets the following criteria:
Now lets examine the idea of the nation. Here we also find a lot of definitions, some of them rather scholar and springing from different starting points: common ethnicity, common culture, the use of a certain territory, etc. Another line of thinking starts from the workings of a nation and proposes a different approach: “a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own”. The implications of this definition include the fact that the members of a nation get along themselves good enough as to participate peacefully in the political process.
“Civility is claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process.”
Exactly the kind of behavior one would expect inside a nation in working order, right?
Wouldn’t be simpler to accept that the waring parties no longer constitute a nation?