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24 November 2011

Uncharted Waters: Thinking Through Syria's Dynamics

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, courtesy of PanARMENIAN Photo/flickr
Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

The Syrian crisis may or may not have entered its final phase, but it undoubtedly has entered its most dangerous one to date. The current stage is defined by an explosive mix of heightened strategic stakes tying into a regional and wider international competition on the one hand and emotionally charged attitudes, communal polarization and political wishful thinking on the other. As dynamics in both Syria and the broader international arena turn squarely against the regime, reactions are ranging from hysterical defiance on the part of its supporters, optimism among protesters and fears of sectarian retribution or even civil war shared by many, through to triumphalism among those who view the crisis as an historic opportunity to tilt the regional balance of power.

© 2011 International Crisis Group (Crisis Group)

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International Crisis Group

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31

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