Blurring the borders

The Syrian conflict is entering a more dangerous phase. What started as a peaceful protest has created a zone of instability from the Mediterranean to the Iranian frontier, enveloping Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

The World Today
1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Civil wars have always invited outside powers to back different sides, but Syria is different. This conflict cannot be contained within its borders. Indeed, the borders are likely to be the next casualty.

Our cover story asks whether we are seeing the dissolution of the national boundaries imposed by Britain and France after the First World War. Michael Williams, drawing on his service as UN envoy in Lebanon, dares to imagine what the Balkanization of Syria would mean. Hugh Pope writes that Turkey, in the absence of US leadership, is now following its dream to reconnect with the former Ottoman lands.

The US may be sitting on its hands in the Middle East but, as Daniel Drezner points out, it still leads the world in producing policy-relevant ideas. How can Britain match this? Phillip Blond has a plan.

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