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The Syrian crisis enters its most dangerous stage

The Syrian crisis has entered its most dangerous stage, requiring urgent attention to issues that the international community and Syrian opposition have largely been ignoring.

The crisis may or may not be in its final phase, but it is now 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 polarisation 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 that a bloody stalemate finally might end, heightened fears of sectarian retribution and even civil war among many, to triumphalism among those who view the crisis as an historic opportunity to decisively tilt the regional balance of power.

Yet, almost entirely missing is a sober assessment of the challenges provoked by these shifts and the very real risk that they could derail or even foreclose the possibility of a successful transition. Crisis Group's new briefing, Uncharted Waters: Thinking Through Syria’s Dynamics, analyses the five key issues and makes policy recommendations on them for Syrian and international actors:

the fate of the Allawite community;

the connection between Syria and Lebanon;

the nature and implications of heightened international involvement;

the long-term impact of the protest movement's growing militarisation; and

the legacy of creeping social, economic and institutional decay.

© Crisis International -


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