International Relations

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Raqqa in 2017

Prospects for Syria’s decade old conflict remain dim

In late 2010, Syria appeared to be the least likely place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to experience any sort of unrest or popular uprising. The regime of Bashar al-Assad, one of the most repressive in the Arab world, seemed to be stable and in full control. It survived the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the fall out from the assassination of former Lebanese prime minter, Rafiq al-Hariri, and emerged stronger politically from the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. The March 2011 uprising came, therefore, as a surprise. Poor management of the crisis by local

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