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Losing Syria (And How to Avoid It)

October 18, 2012

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Salman Shaikh proposes a path forward for addressing the quickly escalating crisis in Syria.

In light of the Syrian regime's continued campaign of violence on its own people and the opposition's inability to unify its ranks, is the collapse of Syrian society approaching a point of no return? Is there a way to hold Syria and its people together and, in doing so, prevent the spread of sectarianism across the Middle East?

In a new paper from the Brookings Doha Center, Losing Syria (And How to Avoid It), Salman Shaikh proposes a path forward for addressing Syria's spiraling crisis.

Based on months of first-hand interviews with opposition leaders, activists, and rebel commanders, Shaikh provides new insights into the current state of fragmentation within Syria's opposition. He offers a set of five policy principles for the international community – with the leadership of the United States – to help unify the political opposition, reassure minority communities, and coordinate the flow of arms. Shaikh argues that the actions – or inaction – of Syria's international partners will have critical consequences for the viability of the post-Assad order, and urges immediate planning for the "day after."

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