The Syrian crisis continues to grind on without a viable settlement to the conflict in sight. The problems spurred by the crisis, from refugees to extremist groups, have become a tangible concern for the West, not just Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, from Russia to Iran to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, several countries have turned Syria into a political and military playground. The lack of strategy to end the conflict on part of the USA, Europe, and the United Nations has paved the way for those state and non-state actors to increase the scope of their actions in Syria. The continuation of this dynamic can only mean further instability across the Middle East and beyond.
This talk links the international relations, security, and social dimensions of the Syrian conflict to address how and why the crisis has reached the level it is at today, with a focus on the role of external stakeholders as well as of rising extremist groups. It will reflect on how a settlement to the conflict might be reached and what the implications of a settlement would be for the Middle East.
Lina Khatib is a Senior Research Associate with the Arab Reform Initiative. She was formerly the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and before that a co-founder of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, Islamist groups, and foreign policy. She has written extensively on Syria over the past two years, especially on armed groups like the Islamic State, and has also published seven books including Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism, an edited collection (with Ellen Lust; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) based on work produced by CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy. She is also a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London.
This event was sponsored by CDDRL's Program on Arab Reform and Democracy.