Syria’s conflict has metamorphised into a hybrid: a partially frozen proxy war over territory combined with a battle over sanctions and reconstruction. This lecture will explore three aspects of this contest. The lecture will look at the stalemated proxy war; the effort of the regime to use reconstruction to consolidate its power and marginalize opposition and the US effort to obstruct this. At stake is whether Syria’s sovereignty will survive and in what form or whether it’s statehood will further fail, with likely waves of spill-over to neighbours. But Syria is also a test case of the global order: whether the US can use its dominance of the world financial system to sustain its world hegemony or whether its reinvention as a “sanctions hegemon” is the last episode in the transition to a multipolar world.
About the speaker:
Raymond Hinnebusch is professor of International relations and Middle East politics and Director of the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St. Andrews. His works on Syria include Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba’thist Syria (Westview: 1990); Peasant and Bureaucracy in Ba’thist Syria (Westview: 1989); Syria: Revolution from above (Routledge: 2001). He co-edited Syria: From Reform to Revolt (Syracuse: 2014); The Syria Uprising: Domestic Factors and Early Trajectory (Routledge: 2018); The War for Syria: Regional and International factors in the Syrian Conflict (Routledge: 2019); “From Westphalian Failure to Heterarchic Governance in MENA: The Case of Syria”, Small Wars and Insurgencies (2018); “Identity and State Formation in multi-sectarian societies: between nationalism and sectarianism and the case of Syria,“ Nations and Nationalism (January 2020); “Sectarianism and governance in Syria”, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (2019), and “The Sectarian Revolution in the Middle East,” Revolutions (2016).