Summary of Deconstructing Syria

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Michael O’Hanlon, an expert on national security and defense policy, outlines a plan for establishing a confederal Syria through localized safe zones. The report breaks down information on the current political climate in Syria and examines the history of US president Barack Obama’s political relations in the area so that readers without a strong topical background can follow. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends this report mainly to policy makers seeking a resolution to the current climate in Syria, as well as those looking for a ray of hope in this complex crisis.

About the Author

Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow and co-director at the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, as well as a director of research for the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution.



The US’s initial response to the Syrian unrest was mere verbal support of the opposition: In 2011, the US called for the removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The top security team around US president Barack Obama recommended arming and training the Syrian opposition, but without a clear solution for a post-Assad Syria, Obama was not willing to take that step. By 2014, diplomatic efforts and attempts to unite and strengthen the opposition had failed: Syria’s civil war was raging, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had conquered one-quarter of Iraq and ISIL-inspired attacks in the West...

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