"With the regional balance of power hinging on the outcome of the Syrian uprising, RAND conducted an analytic exercise to generate a greater understanding of how external actors are shaping the conflict."--Rand Corporation web site.
"Less than two years since the beginning of the uprising in Syria, localized protests have morphed into full-blown civil conflict. Along with internal escalation, the conflict has drawn in external actors, including Syria's neighbors and extra-regional powers. With the regional balance of power hinging on the conflict's outcome, Middle Eastern and extra-regional states have taken sides -- some in support of the Assad regime, others in support of the opposition. RAND convened a group of 26 experts who cover Syria and the various external players to participate in an analytic exercise on November 16, 2012, to generate a greater understanding of the parties and issues in play. The report begins by analyzing what is driving both regional (e.g., Iran and Saudi Arabia) and extra-regional (e.g., Russia) players to intervene in the Syrian conflict. It then proceeds to look at the internal actors (e.g., the Free Syrian Army and Alawite community) that may operate as conduits of external influence. The report concludes with an examination of the relationships between external and internal actors and possible effects of these groups' actions."--Rand Corporation web site.
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