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SYRIA CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS, REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS Effects and consequences on the internal and external security after an assumed regime change; including.

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Presentation on theme: "SYRIA CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS, REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS Effects and consequences on the internal and external security after an assumed regime change; including."— Presentation transcript:

1 SYRIA CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS, REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS Effects and consequences on the internal and external security after an assumed regime change; including Lebanon, Israel Karim Emile Bitar Thursday, November 22, 2012 GENEVA CENTRE FOR SECURITY POLICY Strategic Planning and Analysis Seminar The Situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Area « Syria, Israel, Turkey, Iran and Current Developments »

2 “The Arab awakening is a tale of three battles rolled into one: people against regimes; people against people; and regimes against other regimes.” Hussein Agha and Robert Malley Nowhere is this more evident than in Syria: all three dimensions are forcefully present, simultaneously

3 “The Syrian conflict has triggered something more fundamental than a difference of opinion over intervention, something more than an argument about whether the Security Council should authorize the use of force. Syria is the moment in which the West should see that the world has truly broken into two.” (…) “The situation in Syria has mutated from an uprising in a few outlying cities into a full- scale civil war. Now it has mutated again into a proxy war between the Great Powers” Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books

4 Written on the tank in the second picture: Foreign Intervention Was voted «best cartoon of the year » The Indigenous Revolution vs Foreign Intervention Dilemma - The Militarization of the Syrian Revolution - The Debate over Intervention in Syria - The Pitfalls of Foreign Intervention - Arming the rebels ? -Tunisia & Egypt vs Libya & Syria -The conditions of a successful transition are missing The consequences on the post-Assad configuration: The means determine the end 5 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD ? “If a dictator is overthrown after a peaceful civic resistance process, 28 % chance of a civil war after 5 years. In case of a protracted armed struggle against a dictator, 43 % chance of civil war after 5 years.” “If a dictator is overthrown through peaceful struggle, there is a 51 percent chance of a successful democratic transition after five years. In case of an armed struggle, the chances are only 3 percent.” From Erica Chenoweth & Maria J. Stephan Research

5 The disintegration of Syria ? The 1920s Partition The Sectarian Configuration in 2012 Towards the Lebanonization of Syria? Will Syria’s future reflect Lebanon’s past?

6 Syrian Demography in 2012: the most likely figures Caveats What would a post-Assad Sunni Arab hegemony mean for religious and ethnic minorities ?

7 Why partition is probably unsustainable Rural migration The demographic segregation between Sunnis and Alawis is over Out of 1.8 M, the so-called ‘Alawite Region’ counts 665.000 Non-Alawites, 55 % of them Sunnis 900.000 Alawites live outside the Alawite Region The Assads did not do the groundwork or build the infrastuctures for an Alawite State The international recognition problem The Alawite State would deprive Sunnis of the Coastal areas and the port cities The Alawite State would be indefensible over the long term

8 Is it possible to contain the Spillover of the Syrian Confict into Lebanon ? Siamese countries ? Common destiny ? Lebanon’s complex part in the Syrian conflict The Saudi-Iranian proxy war in Lebanon and Syria Rising Sectarian Tensions The Tripoli powder keg: the aptly named «Syria Street » The Assassination of General Wissam El Hassan and its consequences The impact of the Syrian Revolution on the Lebanese economy Can the Stalemate be managed ? The failure of the engagement with Syria policies What can the EU do to prevent the spillover ? In all likelihood, Lebanon will not escape the Syrian Gales

9 Hezbollah in a post-Assad Configuration Hezbollah has been straddling a very tenuous line between Lebanon and Syria An existential threat ? The vicissitudes of the Iranian-Syrian relationship (1980s-2010s) If Assad goes, will Hezbollah be alone in the Levant ? Realities vs wishful thinking To what extent is Hezbollah’s constituency captive ? Hezbollah’s Domestic Lebanese Impasse A Rare picture of Hassan Nasrallah The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its unintended consequences

10 Israel and the Syrian Revolution : a Catch 22 ? The quietest border for four decades An ambiguous and rather passive Israeli positioning towards the Syrian Revolution To what extent did the 2006 Lebanon War mark the end of the Assad as «devil we know » Israeli position ? Lots of negative Syrian scenarios for Israel: instability, fragmentation, Islamist takeover… A lose-lose situation ?

11 Turkey and the Syrian Revolution What a difference a year makes ! From ‘Zero Problem with Neighbours’ to ‘Zero Neighbours without problems’ The Domestic Turkish considerations regarding intervention in Syria A 566-mile border What are Turkey’s Kurdish options ? Can Turkey split the military struggle against PKK from the overall Kurdish question ? Turkey’s vulnerabilities Turkey’s diplomatic overstretch

12 The endless quest for Kurdish autonomy : obstacles abound -The groundwork (Institutions, Finances, International PR Campaign…) has not been done -The rift between the Kurdish movement and the Syrian opposition -The Iraqi « model » and its discontents -Turkey’s stands and Iran’s stands

13 Will the spillover in Iraq be even worse than in Lebanon? -Is Syria also becoming a battleground for Iraq’s Internal Politics? -Influx of Iraqi Shiite militants fighting in Syria -Iraq is still haunted by its post-US invasion civil war -Growing sectarian rifts -Will Sunnis contest Shiite Power? -The Lebanese Sunni-Shiite ‘balance of power’ logic has yet to be hammered out in Iraq -The Al Qaida Factor


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