Author Archives: nateurban2013

Hard at Writing– By Nate

I want to begin by giving special credit to Isabel for a fantastic performance on Friday.  I too am working towards the end, though with more than one “all-nighter” pushing me along.  I have nearly 75 pages of writing, and another twenty of annotated bibliography, and I have slowly worked my way up to the present times, though now I am adding a part of my essay designed to bring together all the themes I discuss in the sections devoted solely to the history. Continue reading

More Excerpts – by Nate

Recently, I have just been working on finishing my project, so rather than spend time here telling you how it has been going, I am going to post a recent excerpt.  I will say, however, that I am finding progress easier, and am anticipating wrapping up the history section by sometime this Friday or Saturday.  I have also been trying to get the point of view of important magazines, so recently I have spent a lot of time reading articles on Syria in The Economist.   Continue reading

A Hopeful Weekend/ A More Directed Focus – by Nate

This weekend, I am hoping to get a lot of work done, although I have some other work I must get through first.  I have basically decided to break down my project into three subsections, which I described in a previous blog, but I am planning to make these distinctions even larger.  In our meeting, T. Margaret and I discussed how voice fits into a project like mine, and I will say that while I write with voice, it has always been difficult for me to find the perfect amount of voice. Continue reading

The Next Steps: Midway Blog

As I have reached the halfway point in Independent Seminar, it is time for me to reflect on the past half, and what needs to happen for the second half.   I will say that, while I have made a ton of progress in the past couple months, the project I am undertaking is so massive that I have some doubts as to how I am going to finish it.  Really, it comes down to if I am accepted or denied on December 15th (that dictates most of what I will do over my winter break). Continue reading

Syria’s Downfall: Why No One Can Win but Assad Can’t Lose — by Nate

This week, with college deadlines fast approaching (the Thursday after this upcoming Thursday) my Independent research fell completely by the wayside, to be completely, painfully honest.  I did, however, finally come up with a title that I like:  Syria’s Downfall: Why No One Can Win but Assad Can’t Lose. Continue reading

Defining My Thesis – by Nate

This past weekend, I wrote almost all of the history section of my paper.  I began during World War I, and quickly moved to the Husseyn-McMahon Correspondence, Sykes-Picot agreement, and T.E. Lawrence.  I continued through the French Mandate and spent a lot of time on how the Baath party changed its ideals to become a militaristic dictatorship, and the origins of Alawaite control of the military (ethnic discrimination by Sunnis).  It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a ton of fun. Continue reading

The History Side of Things — by Nate

If you are looking to find me this weekend, I will be planted firmly in the library, working on the history of modern Syria.   It is admittedly a little bit more difficult than I anticipated, because pulling it all together and deciding which parts are relevant and which are not is quite the task. The Baath party has, if nothing else, been prolific when it comes to headlines.  It’s also difficult to decide if I should include history from other countries that will be relevant in discussion of the topic later.  It’s also hard to figure out the detail I need to go into, or what will just be making the essay unnecessarily long.  The good news, however, is that the Baath party is really quite interesting.

Hafez al-Assad was an interesting leader in the way he used the Baath party to completely control the Syrian military.  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18582755)

Hafez al-Assad was an interesting leader in the way he used the Baath party to completely control the Syrian military. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18582755)

I’m not really going to break down the current events of this past week, mostly because there were not many overly important news stories this week, and because I devoted most of this week to going over the history before locking myself in the library to work on this background history.

In other news, I am reaching back out to my mentor, because in the near future I will actually need his help.  Most of the background is much more straightforward than the development of the thesis and all of the modern, more interpretive stuff.  We haven’t really been super in touch this past month, but mostly just because I didn’t need support.  Now, I am hoping to set up a meeting and become much more actively in contact.

Syria and the Security Council – by Nate

This was a tumultuous week politically here in the United States, so the Syrian Conflict fell from the front page of most American newspapers, but the issue stayed at the forefront of International attention.  Finally this week, Russia stopped preventing a security council vote by withdrawing its veto. Continue reading

Diplomatic Solutions?

This week, I began to write the portion of my paper that will be on the history of the conflict in the greater picture of the Arab Spring, and the history of the Assad regime.  In writing this I’ve been extremely interested by the Cold War ties that the Assad regime has and the effects that period is having on the region today. Continue reading