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B e h r e n s|1Literature ReviewA look at the Syrian Civil WarNathanyl BehrensMarch 7, 2016Professor: Paul Rowe
B e h r e n s|2IntroductionThe following literature review will discuss works from five differentauthors who have written articles about the Syrian civil war and ISIS. SamarYazbek, a Syrian nationalist and journalist, Kathy Gilsinan, a journalist andeditor for the Atlantic, Reese Erlich, bestselling author and a journalist forCBS, Jack Hasler, a political science PHD student at Haverford College, andJonathan Schnitt, a member of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Each writer offers a different perspective on the Syrian civil war.With the U.S., Russia, France, UK, and Iran all involved in this conflict, noteveryone is on the same side. Major military powers continue to argue overand bomb opposition forces. While this is happening 220,000 people havebeen killed in the fighting. And over 11 million people have been displacedfrom their homes, as the fighting continues these numbers will continue torise. Is a larger war inevitable? Only time will tell.DescriptionReese Erlich a former CIA field operative wrote in his book,Conversations with Terrorists, “U.S.- Syria relations continued to furtherdecline after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and in 2005 the U.S. was expressingregime change and that ended any hope of intelligence cooperation.”1With the U.S. no longer helping Syria, and a large amount of Iranianrefugees fleeing from the fighting in Iraq following the end of the Iraq war,1 Reese Erlich,Conversations with terrorists: Middle East Leaders on Politics, Violence, and Empire(New York, NY:Paradigm Publishers, 2010), 30
B e h r e n s|3there was a great civil unrest in the region. According to Reese, after severalyears of civil unrest and abuse of power by Bashar Al-Assad, peacefulprotests in 2011 quickly turned into violent insurgence in the region.Reese continues by claiming that as the civil war unfolds, other issuecomes to light. A regional rivalry pitting Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabiaagainst each other, was the one of the causes for a “second cold war”between Russia and the U.S. The only other time friction between the UnitedStates and Russia was this high was during the first Cold War. The Syrian waris thus a multilayered conflict with internal, regional, and internationaldynamics structuring both its intensity and longevity.Kathy Gilsinan offers this explanation about what this civil war is reallyabout, calling it2“partly a civil war of government against people; partly areligious war pitting Assad’s minority Alawite sect, aligned with Shiitefighters from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, against Sunni rebel groups; andincreasingly a proxy war featuring Russia and Iran against the United Statesand its allies.” The “proxy war” is an important part when it comes tounderstanding how big of a global issue this has become. It makes sensethat the U.S. is there with having already been in the region and having

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Term
Winter
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Cold War, Reese Erlich

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