Washington, DC — A report released today by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force aims to explain the multilayered dimensions of the three-year-old Syrian conflict, providing a comprehensive mapping of major developments and actors in the crisis.
Asaad al-Saleh, author of the report, dissects the trajectory of the conflict, examining specific transformational episodes, important domestic groups, and international efforts to end the bloodshed.
The report chronicles the entire movement, from its beginning in early 2011 as a public protest campaign against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime through today’s full-blown civil war. It addresses the massive refugee crisis, the emergence of al-Qaeda linked entities within the opposition, Hezbollah’s entry into the fighting, and heightened involvement from the United States and the West.
Al-Saleh also explains how the international community has struggled to agree on a means to end the violence, as the regime and opposition forces remain locked in protracted armed conflict and the Syrian people bear witness to their country’s steady collapse. With the Obama administration having decided to arm the insurgency and the al-Assad regime digging in with its own external backing, the report portrays how the military and political crisis is likely to protract further.
Al-Saleh writes in the report: “Without a significant shift in the balance of power through a major increase in lethal assistance to the rebels, foreign military intervention, or a major diplomatic breakthrough, the conflict is unlikely to end in the near future.” Hence the strategy of arming the opposition and greater military involvement needs to be combined with a strong diplomatic push to contain the conflict and end the humanitarian crisis.
Asaad Al-Saleh is Assistant Professor of Arabic, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies working for the Department of Languages and Literature and the Middle East Center at the University of Utah. He is the author of several articles on issues related to identity, displacement, and political culture in modern Arabic Literature. His book, Voices of the Arab Spring: Personal Stories of the Arab Revolutions, is forthcoming by Columbia University Press. He is currently working on a book that covers the Syrian revolution.
Loren White (Developmental Editor) is an independent research consultant. Prior to his consulting work he was employed as an Ethic’s lecturer at San Jose State University. Loren is a contributor to Huffington Post and has published on Al-Jazeera English and Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel. He received a Graduate Certificate in International Affairs from Texas A&M’s Bush School of Public Governance, and a BA and MA in Philosophy from San Jose State University.
About the Middle East Task Force:
The New America Foundation's Middle East Task Force seeks to inform and deepen the debate on U.S. policy towards the Middle East through dialogue, policy research, and events that target practitioners, policy makers, opinion leaders, the American public, and the international community.
About the New America Foundation:
New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.
The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) is an independent nonprofit public policy research organization. Our mission is to provide expert analysis, insight and context to critical issues facing our nation, with an emphasis on those issues related to Muslim communities in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about ISPU, please visit www.ispu.org.