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. To learn more, click on one of the eight categories below:
November 18, 2015
By Jill Goldenziel, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program
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.
June 10, 2015
By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program
"So what do we do if the Islamic State succeeds in holding on to its territory and becoming a real state? Posen says that the United States (as well as others) should deal with the Islamic State the same way it has dealt with other revolutionary state-building movements: with a policy of containment."
May 18, 2015
By Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
"..[T]he orchestrated U.S. government announcements about the documents, computers and other financial materials that were captured in the raid have got to make a lot of ISIS leaders very nervous. And it is likely to make members of ISIS who have avoided the violence of the battlefield — men like Sayyaf — believe that not even an office job is safe."
May 15, 2015
Washington Post, Monkey Cage Blog
By Barak Mendelsohn, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2014–2015
"The Islamic State, on the other hand, reached prominence in the chaotic aftermath of the Arab uprisings and at a time of great U.S. reluctance to intervene in the Middle East. It focused on gaining territory and establishing a caliphate as measures that would further increase its power as it attempts to remake the international system. The Islamic State also promoted a particularly radical ideology, genocidal toward Shiites and other Middle Eastern minorities and ruthless toward Sunnis who refuse to submit to its authority. As a result, not only does it manifest an even more expansive challenge to the international order, it is also better equipped to threaten this order."
May 13, 2015
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"A frightening combination of elements shapes official and public perceptions of ISIS. This includes obvious gaps in knowledge about some aspects of ISIS and its operations; some frenzy about not being able to track or counter the multiple means of recruiting ISIS adherents via social media; and exaggerated fears that hundreds of ISIS members or supporters with foreign passports may be lurking in backyards, mosques or local grocery stores across American towns and cities."
May 5, 2015
In a public address hosted by the Future of Diplomacy Project, UN Special Envoy to Syria, Ambassador Staffan de Mistura, spoke to a full audience of Harvard Kennedy School students, faculty, and experts on the use of creativity and innovation in crisis response. The event, which took place on April 29, was moderated by the program's Faculty Director, R. Nicholas Burns.
October 29, 2014
In this installment of “Inside the Middle East: Q&A,” Ambassador Robert Ford, former United States Ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014 and Algeria from 2006 to 2008, discusses his experiences with the State Department in Iraq and Syria, US strategy in the Syrian Civil War, and Syria's future.
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.