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Out of Options in Syria?

March 27, 2013 12:30PM

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The civil war in Syria is entering its third year. The death toll is climbing precipitously and foreign involvement has accelerated. The regime has proven intractable and enduring. The United States appears to be joining Turkey, Qatar, the Emirates, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, among others, who are trying to shape the outcome of the conflict.

 It now appears inevitable that Syria faces a long civil war, with or without Bashar al-Assad in power in Damascus. Washington, meanwhile, has positioned US policy squarely against the regime while failing so far to establish meaningful inroads and influence with the armed opposition. How likely is Syria’s violence to spread beyond its borders, with so many outsiders already involved? What’s the prognosis for a stable resolution? And what can the US do to accelerate the end of the conflict and advance Washington’s strategic interests?

 Join The Century Foundation as a panel of experts discuss this important topic. The experts include:

Thanassis Cambanis, a fellow at The Century Foundation, is based in Beirut. He is the author of A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and a forthcoming book about the Egyptian uprising after Mubarak. He has been writing about Arab politics and transitions, and the US role and response, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 

Michael Wahid Hanna, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. He works on issues of international security, international law, and U.S. foreign policy in the broader Middle East and South Asia. He recently served as a co-director of The Century Foundation's International Task Force on Afghanistan, co-chaired by Thomas Pickering and Lakhdar Brahimi. Prior to joining The Century Foundation, Hanna was a senior fellow at the International Human Rights Law Institute.  From 1999 to 2004, Hanna practiced corporate law with the New York law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.  Fluent in Arabic, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Cairo University and is a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Randa Slim, a research fellow with the National Security Studies Program of the New America Foundation.  A former vice president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, Slim has also been a senior program advisor at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a guest scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. She has consulted for a number of international and US governmental and private sector organizations including USAID, UNDP, and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Since 2001, Ms. Slim has developed and managed a number of Track II diplomatic activities in the Middle East including an Iraqi national reconciliation dialogue involving Iraqi parliamentarians, tribal leaders and representatives of Iraqi opposition groups. In 2007, she co-founded the Arab Network for the Study of Democracy, a group of academics and civil society activists from eight Arab countries. She is a board member of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and the Project on Middle East Democracy.

 Andrew J. Tabler, a senior fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on Syria and U.S. policy in the Levant. The cofounder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria's first private-sector English-language magazine, Mr. Tabler achieved unparalleled long-term access to Bashar al-Asad's Syria. During fourteen years of residence in the Middle East, Mr. Tabler served, most recently, as a consultant on U.S.-Syria relations for the International Crisis Group (2008) and as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs (2005-2007), writing on Syrian, Lebanese, and Middle Eastern affairs. Mr. Tabler is author of In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria (Lawrence Hill Books, 2011), and the 2007 Stanley Foundation report The High Road to Damascus: Engage Syria's Private Sector.

 

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