Syria and the reasons for war

ROME – The complex issues covering the roots of the revolt in Syria and their constant transformation over the past seven years were analysed in the book launch of “Siria: Il perché di una guerra” at the Euro-Gulf Information Centre headquarters on Via Gregoriana.

 The authors, Matteo Bressan, an analyst for the NATO Defense College Foundation, and Domitilla Savignoni, a journalist and presenter of Tg5 led a discussion from the cries of revolution in Syria to civil war, progressing towards an exploration of possible future scenarios, and indeed whether Syria has passed through its most difficult times.

 The two authors began by pointing to the legacy of the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which fashioned a resentful sentiment at the imposition of mini-states, leaving the Kurds without a unified territory, dispersed between Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Amid numerous consequences, this settlement, Bressan argues, has become a fundamental reason for Syria’s enduring volatility.

 Bressan and Savignoni also delved into the internal factors of the Syrian crisis, noting that the social, economic and political complexities were relatively unknown before the uprisings in 2011. Unemployment rates were through the roof, wages were exceptionally low and inequality was rife. In fact, cronyism often dictated social fortunes, or by and large misfortunes, and as such, a collective of internal issues provided circumstances primed for political conflict.

 Yet, external factors have also played a key role in the causes of war in Syria. The authors cited the war for power between the monarchies of the Gulf, Turkey and Iran, whilst adding that the juxtaposed interventions of the USA and Russia had further fuelled the intricacies of the Syrian war. Savignoni noted that the indiscipline into which the revolt has descended, even prior to the surfacing of jihadism, may have largely convinced external influences that survival of the regime would seem less evil in both Syria and the Middle East.

 As the discussion concluded, both authors were probed as to whether they remained optimistic, or indeed pessimistic of the future in Syria. Have we seen the worst of the Syrian conflict? As a country, Syria has been ripped apart with areas still controlled by diverse and opposing militias with different intentions. Its main cities have been left in rubble alongside the atrocious deaths of hundreds of thousands, many of whom were children.

 Syria, Savignoni and Bressan observe, is likely to remain the centre of the world for jihadist militancy for years to come, maintaining the subsisting instability throughout Middle East. A political resolution, for now, persists as a distant hope.

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Siria: Il perché di una guerra

By Matteo Bressan, Domitilla Savignoni

Published by Salerno, 16 Nov 2017

136 pages

€10.20