Albert Elkus Room, 125 Morrison Hall
Syria's civil war has entered an explosive third phase. Radical Islamist forces now lead the military campaign against the regime of President Bashshar al-Asad. The Islamists compete with one another for popular backing, but have alienated the general public by fighting with other militias and assaulting minority communities. In response, Kurds,'Alawis and others have created armed formations to protect their co-religionists. As the conflict becomes increasingly brutal and sectarian in character, it threatens to inflame simmering tensions in neighboring states. This complicates US efforts to influence the outcome, an effort made even more difficult by the introduction of chemical weapons into the fighting.
Fred H. Lawson is Lynn T. White, Jr. Professor of Government at Mills College. His publications include Global Security Watch Syria (Praeger, 2013), Demystifying Syria (Saqi Books, 2009), Constructing International Relations in the Arab World (Stanford University Press, 2006) and Why Syria Goes to War (Cornell University Press, 1996). He was president of the Syrian Studies Association from 2009 to 2011, and spent the 1992-93 academic year at the University of Aleppo as Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations. In 2009-10, he was Visiting Fellow at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.