Syria

Ask CFR Experts

Does the presence of radical Islamic groups in the Syrian opposition affect Iran?

Asked by Bashayar Ghasab, from Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus

Yes and no. Because of sectarian differences between the Iranian government and the Sunni Salafi fighters in the Syrian opposition, Iran's influence becomes weakened at first sight if the Syrian opposition wins. But the Iranian regime can (and has) created common cause with Sunni radicals in the recent past. History shows that this would not be the first time an unlikely alliance between opposing groups has formed.

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See more in Iran; Syria; Radicalization and Extremism

Ask CFR Experts

What effect would the fall of the Assad regime have on U.S. policy towards Syria?

Asked by Igbinosa Ojehomon, from Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus
Author: Robert Danin

The United States' policy toward a post-Assad Syria would largely depend on what political scenario results. A victory by unified rebel forces would generate a vastly different policy than a new govenrnment that includes jihadists. In the more likely event that post-Assad Syria descends into greater sectarian violence, Washington would urge regional partners like Turkey and Saudi Arabia to exert influence with those rebel groups to which they had provided arms and ammunition.

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See more in Syria; United States; Regime Changes

Audio

Assessing the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Speakers: Jeffrey Crisp and Rochelle Davis
Presider: Andrew Parasiliti

Jeffrey Crisp, senior director for policy and advocacy at Refugees International, and Rochelle Davis, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Georgetown University, join Andrew Parasiliti, director of the Center for Global Risk and Security at the RAND Corporation, to discuss the long-term welfare of Syrian refugees and the burden on host countries.

See more in Syria; Refugees and the Displaced

Audio

Media Conference Call on the Threat of Foreign Fighters (Audio)

Speakers: Jytte Klausen and Jeremy Shapiro
Presider: Gideon Rose

Listen to Foreign Affairs contributors Jeremy Shapiro, former member of the U.S. State Department's policy planning staff and current fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Jytte Klausen, founder of the Western Jihadism Project, discuss the threat that foreign fighters returning from Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere pose to their home countries.

See more in Syria; Counterterrorism

Audio

What To Do About Syria

Speakers: Ryan Crocker, Charles W. Dunne, and Paul Pillar
Presider: Richard N. Haass

More than three years after the start of the Syrian civil war, debates continue about what role, if any, the United States should play in the conflict. Ryan Crocker of Texas A&M, Freedom House's Charles Dunne, and Paul Pillar of Georgetown University join CFR President Richard N. Haass to outline the courses of action available to the United States and debate whether U.S. intervention would be desirable or effective.

See more in Syria; Conflict Assessment

Audio

Syria Update

Speakers: Robert Danin and Ed Husain
Presider: Irina A. Faskianos

CFR Senior Fellows Robert M. Danin and Ed Husain lead a conversation on the current situation in Syria and discuss the challenges that lie ahead for the country and the international community.

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Audio

Syria Update (Audio)

Speakers: Elliott Abrams and Ed Husain
Presider: Irina A. Faskianos

Elliott Abrams and Ed Husain, CFR senior fellows for Middle Eastern studies, lead a conversation on the current situation in Syria and discuss challenges that lie ahead, both for the country and the international community.

See more in Syria; Religion

Audio

Media Conference Call: Arab Turmoil Continues

Speakers: Steven A. Cook and Tony Badran

CFR Senior Fellow Steven Cook and Foundation for Defense Democracies Research Fellow Tony Badran discuss the increasing violence and political change sweeping the region with Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose. Cook and Badran have authored articles in the recently released eBook New Arab Revolt, published by CFR and Foreign Affairs.

See more in Syria; Yemen; Egypt; Bahrain

Backgrounder

Sarin

Author: Zachary Laub

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from long-standing international practice.

See more in Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria