The Dilemmas of Western Engagement in the Syrian Civil War: How to avoid responsibility while governing the outcome?


27 November 2019


Egmont Institute

Africa Lunch Meeting with Senior Researcher Dr. Øystein H. Rolandsen from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
In October 2019 the USA and its allies withdrew a large share of its personnel engaged in providing military assistance to the Syrian rebels, paving the way for Turkey’s subsequent invasion of the north-eastern part of the country. In media this has been portrayed as a betrayal of both US allies and principles of promoting democracy and Human Rights. Dr. Rolandsen will present results from research into military assistance provided by the Western countries and in particular the USA to the rebels in Syria. Despite significant shifts in policy over the past few years, Rolandsen argues that it is possible to identify an underlying consistency where policy-makers have attempted to balance a desire to disengage from the Middle East while maintaining credibility as guarantors of democracy and Human Rights. The US withdrawal from Syria is thus a part of a long-term tendency with broad and lasting impacts on the future of the whole of the Middle-East.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)