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MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series : ‘Understanding Syria’s Civil War: Revolution, Regime Resilience, and Stalemate’ by Professor Michael Kerr

Michael Kerr, Professor of Conflict Studies and Director of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies and the Centre for the Study of Divided Societies at King’s College London, presented an in-depth lecture on Syria’s civil war.

Demonstrations in Syria during 2011 represented an outpouring of discontent with Bashar Al Assad’s government from across the whole spectrum of Syrian society, spreading throughout the country and eventually forming an armed insurgency. The conflict spilled over into neighbouring countries – Libya, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey – and prompted the intervention of regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey, leading to a proxy war. The conflict also provoked military intervention by the United States and its allies, not in support of the opposition, but against emergent Islamist forces after 2014.

In this presentation, Professor Kerr did not attempt to cover the conflict itself, in the sense of describing what is happening in Syria today. Instead he gave a detailed analysis of a number of the key factors that led to the civil war and addressed the question of how and why the Assad regime has survived thus far, albeit in a fairly weakened state. He also looked briefly at some of the salient international variables that have led to what might be described as a stalemate.

Michael’s presentation, described by several attendees as “a really insightful, understandable and concise overview of a very complex issue”, was warmly received by an interested and informed audience who filled the room to capacity.

The final lecture in the MBI Al Jaber lecture series will be given on Thursday, 16th June by Eric Broug, who will be talking about Mamluk Geometric Design in Cairo (1250-1517).

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