Syria and the Regional Implications of the Crisis

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The conflict in Syria is rapidly approaching the two-year mark, with no lasting cease-fire or negotiated settlement in sight. As the death toll continues to climb and the prolonged suffering of the Syrian people becomes more certain, questions abound about the ramifications of the conflict that will no doubt persist for years to come. Will Syria’s instability spread to neighboring countries? How long can Assad hold on? Is Russia really a thorn in the side of the US on Syria?

In a small grant project sponsored by the Hollings Center, Genieve Abdo and Randa Slim of MEI organized a public panel focused on these questions entitled “Syria and the Regional Implications of the Crisis,” held on Wednesday, November 14. This panel discussion was inspired by a Summer 2012 Hollings Center dialogue in Istanbul on “Foreign Policy and Competing Mediation in the Middle East.” In addition to Abdo and Slim, the expert panel included Amr al Azem of Shawnee State University, Şaban Kardaş of TOBB University in Ankara and Ekaterina Stepanova of Institute of the World Economy and International Relations.

The panel was followed by an intensive roundtable discussion with a larger group of experts to further explore the dynamics of the conflict, its regional ramifications and the roles of outside actors as facilitators or as obstacles to the pursuit of peace. MEI released a paper based on these two events, which is accessible here. You can watch the public panel by clicking here.


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