Syria

Ask CFR Experts

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.

Read full answer

See more in Syria; Humanitarian Intervention

Ask CFR Experts

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.

Read full answer

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

Ask CFR Experts

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.

Read full answer

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

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.

Read full answer

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 M. 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.

Read full answer

See more in Syria; United States; Regime Changes

Article

How to Save Syria From al Qaeda

Author: Leslie H. Gelb
Daily Beast

Leslie H. Gelb writes that the aim now in Syria can't be just to help the rebels and get rid of Assad; it must be to prevent al Qaeda's extremist cohorts from grabbing power.

See more in Syria

Interview

The Hezbollah Connection in Syria and Iran

Matthew Levitt interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

In recent years, the strategic alliance between Iran and Hezbollah has grown to the point where the Lebanese militant group's fealty to Tehran is paramount, a dynamic currently on display in Syria, says counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt.

See more in Syria; Iran

Primary Sources

Remarks by Secretary Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, February 2013

Secretary John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave these remarks before their meeting on February 14, 2013. They outlined the main issues they would discuss: North Korea's nuclear test and Six Party Talks, negotiations with Iran, the crisis in Syria, and France's intervention in Mali.

See more in Mali; Syria; North Korea; International Organizations and Alliances