The Syria Dilemma

Edited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel

The United States is on the brink of intervention in Syria, but the effect of any eventual American action is impossible to predict. The Syrian conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions, yet most observers warn that the worst is still to come. And the international community cannot agree how respond to this humanitarian catastrophe. World leaders have repeatedly resolved not to let atrocities happen in plain view, but the legacy of the bloody and costly intervention in Iraq has left policymakers with little appetite for more military operations. So we find ourselves in the grip of a double burden: the urge to stop the bleeding in Syria, and the fear that attempting to do so would be Iraq redux.

What should be done about the apparently intractable Syrian conflict? This book focuses on the ethical and political dilemmas at the heart of the debate about Syria and the possibility of humanitarian intervention in today’s world. The contributors–Syria experts, international relations theorists, human rights activists, and scholars of humanitarian intervention–don’t always agree, but together they represent the best political thinking on the issue. The Syria Dilemma includes original pieces from Michael Ignatieff, Mary Kaldor, Radwan Ziadeh, Thomas Pierret, Afra Jalabi, and others.


Asli Bâli, Richard Falk, Tom Farer, Charles Glass, Shadi Hamid, Nader Hashemi, Christopher Hill, Michael Ignatieff, Afra Jalabi, Rafif Jouejati, Mary Kaldor, Marc Lynch, Vali Nasr, Thomas Pierret, Danny Postel, Aziz Rana, Christoph Reuter, Kenneth Roth, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Fareed Zakaria, Radwan Ziadeh, Stephen Zunes

About the Editors
Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor of MiddleEast and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel Schoolof International Studies. He is the author of Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies. He is co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future.

Danny Postel is Associate Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and is the author of Reading “Legitimation Crisis” in Tehran. He is co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future.

“Here is all the material that readers will need to join the argument about intervention in Syria—which is turning out to be one of the most important political arguments of our time.”
—Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; author of Just and Unjust Wars and Arguing About War

“Whether you support or oppose military intervention, The Syria Dilemma highlights the ethical and moral dilemmas at the heart of the Syrian conflict. The editors have done an excellent job in collecting critical contributions by prominent scholars and foreign policy analysts. This book raises the moral level of debate on Syria. It is a must read.”
—Fawaz A. Gerges, Director of the Middle East Centre, London School of Economics; author of Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment?

“Wide-ranging and timely, this volume is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the Syrian tragedy, its significance, and the options available to the United States and the rest of the international community.”
—James L. Gelvin, Professor of History, UCLA; author of The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know and Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire.


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