University of Cambridge > > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars > The World Comes to Syria: the Globalisation of a Civil Conflict

The World Comes to Syria: the Globalisation of a Civil Conflict

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Katherine Bowers.

The Syrian Civil War is a globalised conflict. Fighting alongside Syrian rebels are jihadis from other Middle Eastern and Muslim states, but also from across mainland Europe, the UK, and the USA . Fighting alongside the Syrian government are jihadis from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and further afield – including the USA . Additionally, both the rebels and the government benefit from arms and finance sourced and delivered through global networks. Although the foreign patronage enjoyed by each side is decried by the other, these fighters and sponsors are not simply partisans in a civil conflict. Rather, in many cases, they have taken ownership of the conflict. For these actors, the Syrian ‘Civil’ War is their war; the power to legitimise or delegitimise using the Westphalian binary of ‘Syrian/foreign’ has been wrested from the Syrians.

Focusing on the global nature of the Syrian Civil War, this paper assesses the fracturing of the state and the increased permeability of borders, or indeed their total dissolution, in this part of world. It asks what the increasing involvement of sub-state and supra-state actors, and the motivating factors behind their involvement, means for the Westphalian notions of ‘national/foreign’ and ‘civil’ conflict in the region. Ultimately, this paper asks why the world has come to Syria, and why this matters for the world.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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