PRIO Senior Researcher Øystein H. Rolandsen will be speaking in Brussels today on Western engagement in the Syrian civil war.

In October 2019 the USA and its allies withdrew a large share of its personnel engaged in providing military assistance to Syrian rebels, paving the way for Turkey’s subsequent invasion of the north-eastern part of the country.

In media this has been portrayed as a betrayal of both US allies and principles of promoting democracy and Human Rights. Dr. Rolandsen will present results from research into military assistance provided by the Western countries and in particular the USA to the opposition in Syria.

Despite significant shifts in policy over the past few years, Rolandsen argues that it is possible to identify an underlying consistency where policy-makers have attempted to balance a desire to disengage from the Middle East while maintaining credibility as guarantors of democracy and Human Rights. The US withdrawal from Syria is thus a part of a long-term tendency with broad and lasting impacts on the future of the whole of the Middle-East.

The event is part of the Egmont Institute Africa Lunch Seminars.