The Remaking of Syria, Iraq and the Wider Middle East

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The continuing political turmoil in the Middle East may spell the end of the borders that have defined the region for a century

Important as events in Cairo are, they distract Western attention from the much bigger game being played out in Syria which significantly risks changing the Levant after a century of relative territorial stability. This paper analyses the impact the Syrian civil war could have on the future of the Middle East state system across the Levant. The report warns that ongoing conflict may prompt the fragmentation of the region's twentieth-century defined states.

The paper outlines how Lebanon, Jordan - and the interests of Israel and Turkey - could all be profoundly affected; but the most important casualty of the war is potentially Iraq, with inter-communal conflicts driven by deeply held and murderous sectarian hatreds that continue to stalk its political landscape today.

About the Author

Professor Gareth Stansfield is a Senior Associate Fellow with special reference to the Middle East and Islamic world. He is Professor of Middle East Politics and the Al-Qasimi Chair of Arab Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter, where he is also the Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) and Director of Research of the Strategy and Security Institute (SSI).


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