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Inside Syria: 18 Months On

Thursday 20 September 2012
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

On 20 September, the Middle East Centre held a one-day conference on Syria. Eighteen months after public demonstrations began in the country, the conference, featuring four panels and a keynote address from former Syrian National Council chairman and Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Professor Burhan Ghalioun, explored the dynamics of the key  domestic forces influencing the struggle: the regime, the opposition, the economy and the Syrian people.

The conference was supported by the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme| and the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster|.


Conference Programme (subject to change) - download PDF|

Syria Conference Programme

08.00 – 09.00


09.00 – 09.15

Welcome Address
Professor Fawaz Gerges|, LSE

09.15 – 11.00

Panel 1 – Inside The Regime
The makeup of the Syrian Leadership, the Military and Shabiha, Business Networks and Alawis


What went wrong with the Bashar Al-Assad Presidency?
Dr Christopher Phillips|, Queen Mary University
Read the transcript|


The Military Balance of Power: The State of the Syrian Army
(Retired) Bridgadier General Akil Hashem|


How Regional and International Factors Impact the Syrian Conflict
Ghayth Armanazi|, Political Analyst and Former Arab League Ambassador
Read the transcript|

11.00 – 11.30

Tea & Coffee

11.30 – 13.00

Panel 2 – Inside the Opposition
The Nature and Dynamics of the Various Opposition Groups and Movements, Focussing on those Inside Syria


The Syrian Opposition: A Balance Sheet
Rime Allaf|,Chatham House

The Syrian Opposition: A View from the Inside
Suheir Atassi|, National Council of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic Change


Armed Groups in Libya: A Comparative Look
Brian McQuinn|, Oxford University / Centre on Conflict, Development and Peace Building

13.00 – 14.00


14.00 – 15.30

Panel 3 – Identity in Syria
The Complex Influences on Identity and Allegiance and how these May Affect the Course of the Struggle


Violence as a Modality of Government in Syria
Professor Salwa Ismail|, SOAS


Divide, Terrorise and Rule in the Syrian 'Black Hole State'
Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi|, University of Westminster

The Islamist Elements within the Syrian Uprising
Dr Thomas Pierret|, University of Edinburgh

15.30 – 16.00

Tea & Coffee

16.00 – 17.30

Panel 4 – The War Era: Economic & Sociological Implications
The Interplay of the War and the Economy on Syrian Society


The State of the Economy: How Long Can Syria Survive?
Jihad Yazigi|, The Syria Report


The War Toll: Life for Ordinary Syrians
Stephen Starr|, Journalist

17.30 18.30

Keynote Address
Lessons Learned: Taking Stock of the Opposition Journey
Professor Burhan Ghalioun|, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
Read the transcript|


Close of Conference