Belfer Center Home > Publications > Academic Papers & Reports > Discussion Papers > Power Outage: Syrian Armed Group Alliances in the Balance

EmailEmail   PrintPrint Bookmark and Share

 
"Power Outage: Syrian Armed Group Alliances in the Balance"

"Power Outage: Syrian Armed Group Alliances in the Balance"

Discussion Paper 2012-05, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

April 2012

Author: Ethan Corbin, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2011–2013

ISP Discussion Paper Series

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security

 

SUMMARY

Syrian alignment with Palestinian and Lebanese Shia armed groups that were born out of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been a constant of Middle Eastern security politics for almost fifty years. The increasingly violent domestic uprising and the challenge that it poses to the Assad regime has led some analysts to worry that a foundering Assad regime could use its armed group agents to stir up regional trouble, which raises the question of how much power Syria really has over its regional armed group proxies. This paper argues that it has less than many think. Rather than ideology, Syrian state power has long been the key determinant of the degree of Syria's alignment with external armed groups. As Syrian state power continues to decline, so does its control over its armed group allies. This paper examines the state of Syria's regional armed group allies today in the face of Syrian decline. As the domestic struggle for Syria continues, the United States and its allies have the opportunity to further isolate Syria's armed group allies operating in Lebanon and the Occupied Territories. Increased attention to Lebanon could further reduce the chance of regional spillover from the crisis, and diminish a principal cause of continued instability in the region.

 

For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Corbin, Ethan. "Power Outage: Syrian Armed Group Alliances in the Balance." Discussion Paper 2012-05, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, April 2012.

Bookmark and Share

SUBSCRIBE

Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

<em>International Security</em>

The Fall 2014 Issue of the quarterly journal International Security
is now available!

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.