With more than 230,000 killed and 11 million uprooted from their homes, the bloody conflict in Syria has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda. It is also the focal point for intense debates over chemical weapons, Islamic extremists like ISIS, and what the U.S. and others can do to stop the killing.
Hard choices require hard facts, which is why Belfer Center researchers created this “one-stop shop” for key facts, documents, statistics, and analysis.
February 27, 2016
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"Western powers constantly mention partition and redrawing borders because European officials applied this idea when the modern Middle East was created around 1915-1920, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This is the easiest way, in their minds, to resolve nagging wars such as those in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, whose export of refugees, terrorism and human despair threatens the peace and security of the Middle East and the rest of the world as well. War in Iraq? Break it up. War in Syria? Redraw the borders, and so it goes, century after century..."
February 28, 2016
The Washington Post
By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
Blaming President Obama for his past mistakes in Syria may be satisfying, and largely deserved, but it’s not a policy. This is the most complicated battlefield the world has seen in decades, and the next moves by the United States and its allies have to be deliberate and carefully considered.
December 16, 2015
The Boston Globe
By Farah Pandith, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
IT’S NEARLY unfathomable that two San Bernardino parents could nonchalantly drop off their six-month-old baby and embark on a shooting spree, murdering 14 people in the name of a terrorist organization. Yet theirs is hardly an isolated impulse. According to FBI Director James Comey, there are currently 300 American-based sympathizers online. The FBI is pursuing 900 active cases in all 50 states, and 71 individuals have been arrested on terrorism-related charges this year alone. As facts like these make clear, American youth are not immune to extremist ideology, and we should be doing far more to protect them.
December 9, 2015
Stephen Covington explains the strategic and tactical reasons for Russia’s deployment to Syria and helps the reader see the world through the eyes of President Putin and his advisors. Together with his earlier paper, “Putin’s Choice for Russia,” published with the Belfer Center in August 2015, this paper provides the reader with the strategic threads that run through contemporary Russian geopolitics. His insights into Russian strategic thinking are based on years of study and practical experience with the Russian military and, his opinion matters as a person who advises NATO’s senior military leaders on Alliance security anddefense matters.
(From Foreword by BG Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects)
December 25, 2015
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"Throughout many private and public encounters across the United States in the past two months, I have repeatedly heard Americans ask whether they are doing the right thing in their current policy to counter "Islamic State" (ISIS), and whether they should be doing other things besides military attacks. This is now even more urgent since the United States government has issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans traveling abroad. Existing policies to counter Islamist terror groups have not worked very well, it seems, to judge by the last 17 years of non-stop military attacks against Al-Qaeda which have seen Al-Qaeda persist and expand recently, and ISIS come to being and wage terror attacks in several countries beyond its borders."
November 25, 2015
"ISIS has recently suffered massive losses of territory, income, and people. ISIS has lost 25 percent of its territory since the United States began its bombing campaign. The successful Kurdish recapture of Sinjar effectively divided ISIS territory in half and severed its access to the highway that was its main supply route. Based on data we have gathered on the ground, within ISIS territory, in 2014, ISIS was receiving up to 3,000 new recruits and volunteers per day, more than it could process at its own recruiting stations. Just before the Paris bombings, that number had decreased to 50–60 per day, not enough to offset the massive casualties sustained in Sinjar and elsewhere."
November 18, 2015
By Jill Goldenziel, Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2013–2016
News that one of the 11/13 Paris attackers carried a fake Syrian passport has raised fears about resettlement of Syrian refugees here in the United States. Some politicians and governors have called for the United States to stop resettling Syrian refugees altogether. Here are some facts to guide the debate.
With over 230,000 killed and 11 million uprooted from their homes, the bloody conflict in Syria has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda. It is also the focal point for intense debates over chemical weapons, Islamic extremists like ISIS, and what the U.S. and others can do to stop the killing. Hard choices require hard facts, which is why Belfer Center researchers created this “one-stop shop” for key facts, documents, statistics, and analysis.