Syria

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What is the worst-case scenario outcome in Syria, and how will it affect the rest of the Middle East?

Asked by David Karapetyan

Syria has been mired in deadly strife since March 2011 and the outlook for resolving what is now a full blown civil war looks increasingly dire. The worst case outcome for Syria is one whereby the country fragments and becomes a failed state in which the Damascus government no longer controls its own territory. Under such a scenario, the glue holding the country together comes unstuck.

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See more in Syria; Wars and Warfare

Op-Ed

The No-Plan Zone

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

According to Micah Zenko, "We are deluding ourselves if we believe that we need more time to "think through" U.S. military intervention options for Syria. We have an excellent understanding of what those options are, and a vast majority of officials, policymakers, and the American people do not believe they are worth the effort."

See more in Syria; United States; Wars and Warfare; Humanitarian Intervention

Op-Ed

America's Best Options in Syria

Author: Gregory D. Koblentz
Atlantic Monthly

Gregory Koblentz argues that the United States' best option for a response to the conflict in Syria is not simply arming the rebels, pushing for UN sanctions, indicting Assad, or pressuring Russia—rather, it is a combination of all four.

See more in Syria; United States; Defense Strategy

Must Read

The New Yorker: The Thin Red Line

Author: Dexter Filkins

"The Administration has given the Syrian opposition more than six hundred and fifty million dollars in nonmilitary aid, but Obama has consistently opposed arming the rebels or intervening militarily on their behalf. The United States has taken a tenuous position: not deep enough to please the rebels or its allies in Europe, or to topple the regime, or to claim leadership in the war's aftermath—but also, perhaps most important, not so deep that it can't get out."

See more in Wars and Warfare; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria

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What is preventing international action in Syria?

Asked by Jake C., from University of Texas at Tyler

A number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Qatar, have been providing support to the opposition in various forms, ranging from humanitarian aid to military supplies, such as weapons, armor, and communication devices. However, these efforts have not been enough to turn the tide, and after three years of fighting, a diplomatic solution still seems unlikely.

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See more in Syria; Humanitarian Intervention

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What will be the effect of the UN Arms Trade Treaty on the Syrian conflict?

Asked by Gabriel

The UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was passed on March 28, 2013, and seeks to regulate and limit trade in arms in circumstances of human rights violations. Unfortunately, it will have minimal effect on the Syrian conflict. Syria's own vote against the treaty, along with Iran's and North Korea's, sounded the death knell for a universally applicable treaty to limit small arms, ammunition, and conventional weapons technology.

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See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Syria; International Law; Global Governance

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How does Russia challenge U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Middle East?

Asked by Elias El Mrabet, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Russia today may have less influence in the Middle East than previously, but it continues to have a stake in the region's stability and sees it as an area in which it has important national interests, often at variance with U.S. goals and objectives.

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See more in Middle East and North Africa; Syria; Russian Federation; Diplomacy and Statecraft