Conference Announcement—Syria: Moving Beyond the Stalemate

Syria moving beyond the stalemate university of St AndrewsAnnouncing the St Andrews Third Biennial Conference on Syria: “Moving Beyond the Stalemate,” 1-3 July in St. Andrews, Scotland. The international conference will bring together in one place the largest and most diverse concentration of scholars of Syria. It will feature papers by some 25 based on innovative and cutting edge research. The Roundtable discussions feature the biggest names in the field of Syrian studies, diplomacy and conflict resolution. Roundtable participants David Lesch, Steven Heydeman, Nir Rosen, Samir Aita, Michael Williams and Carsten Wieland have all been intimately involved in diplomacy, track II and conflict resolution projects regarding Syria. I William Zartman is the world’s most famous expert on conflict resolution in failed states. The workshops will give all conference attendees a chance to interact with these scholars and practitioners in debating the way forward in the Syrian crisis.

Conference Aims

The conference aims at attracting scholars at all career levels, including post-graduate students, from a broad range of disciplines. Original research based on empirical data and/or new theoretical approaches are encouraged. Contributions by Syrian scholars are especially welcome. Papers may cover a variety of topics and are not confined to the following suggestions:

  • The nature of the Syrian war: actors, identities and interests
  • The Silent and Marginalized voices: Is there a “third force/way”?
  • The Islamist opposition and the evolution of Syrian Islam amidst the conflict
  • Regime survival
  • State collapse, violence and the disappearance of borders: the rise of ISIS, sectarian transnationalism, and international intervention.
  • The future of Syria: Is a diplomatic solution viable? Is an Iranian-Saudi détente over Syria possible? Is a power-sharing formula (or consociational democracy) possible?

The registration fee includes three nights accommodation, plus many meals, teas and coffee, etc. For details and registration please visit:

Comments (23)

ghufran said:

I do not see Joshua’s name among the participants/ speakers, I do not know of any Western academic today who knows Syria as much as Dr. Landis does, that does not mean I have to agree with everything he says.
The value of the opinions expressed by many western “experts” in the past has been questionable at best and so is their neutrality and objectivity. I did not have the time to check how diverse the body of speakers and faculty is but I hope we will learn that soon.
What those speakers should do beside “analyzing” is describe the suffering Syrians have to go through and urge politicians to work harder to end the war.
I doubt that there will be enough discussion about sensitive topics like the link between Turkey and the GCC and terrorist groups and how sanctions and punitive measures taken by the US and the EU affected average Syrians a lot more than regime figures. Speakers will probably stay away from the flammable topic of Wahhabi Islam and terrorism.
If my predictions were right you can forget about spending any time reading what those “experts” have to say.

May 17th, 2015, 4:10 pm


Badr said:

Instead of spending money on organizing and attending an academic conference, which I doubt will have any positive impact on the lives of Syrians, may I suggest donating it to humanitarian relief efforts for displaced Syrians.

May 17th, 2015, 5:20 pm


Ghufran said:

I could not agree more, Badr

May 17th, 2015, 6:02 pm


jamal said:

The money should be transferred to Syrian official banks to support the Syrian Lira from collapsing. It’s our obligation as Syrians to do so.

May 17th, 2015, 7:24 pm


jamal said:

# 135. Hopeful

(In addition to the technocrats, you will need political cover .. pause)

The Arab Syrian Army will be responsible for eliminating all war lords and their groups. All parties should back and support the Arab Syrian Army as the sole provider of security and safety to all Syrians.

(you simply are still saying that the solution is not political, but militarily.)

Disagree, don’t put words on my mouth.

(This is not Assad and is not Baghdadi)

Please don’t mix the poison in honey. Alassad the son is a legitimate elected president while Baghdadi and all Bedouin opposition figures are just terrorists.

(But in the meanwhile, he must step aside and let a real solution take shape)

That’s not up you to decide, only the Syrian people can decide the fate of the legitimate president Alassad the son.

(Both Michelle Oun and Samir Jaajaa are political leaders…)

No they’re not leaders, both were/are reporting to a low ranking mukhabarat Syrian officer.

May 17th, 2015, 10:49 pm


ghufran said:

This is how pathetic some opposition figures from the SNC have become, this guy was a frequent visitor to Aljazeera, like recurrent diarrhea (when the Bedouins of the GCC were singing the “regime days are numbered” song),now he is as lonely as a vegetarian at a burger joint:

أحمد رمضان A.Ramadan @RamadanSyria

مصدر أمني لبناني: #حزب_الله أقام بمشفى الرسول الأعظم في بيروت قسما يضم برادين يتسعان لنحو ٨٠ جثة لاحتواء الأعداد الكبيرة من قتلاه في #سورية.

congratulations, Ramadan is now a full time hizbullah body- counting mortician, too bad Ramadan’s heroes, Nusra terrorists, did not get lucky in Qalamon as they did in Idleb, at this rate and by the time your kids finish their finals Qalamon could be virtually Nusra-free, so Mr. Ramadan, at least cheer where terrorists are indeed making gains on the ground !!
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

May 18th, 2015, 12:11 am


Hopeful said:

#5 Jamal

When I say “we need a political cover for the technocrats to convince all sides to pause”, and you reply “the Arab Syrian Army will eliminate all war landlords and their groups”, you are, in affect, stating that there is not a political solution, but a militarily. I am not putting words in your mouth, I am making inference from your statements.

Many in the opposition have complained that the regime is not serious about discussing a political solution. I am afraid they are right. For most of the world, a political solution = a compromise regarding a transitional government. For the regime, a political solution = a constitution and election laws created under the “protection” of the president and his security forces. If this is the case, the war will continue until one side eliminates the other – likely many many more years.

May 18th, 2015, 12:22 am


Hopeful said:

Two years ago, on this forum, I expressed my deepest fears about the outcome of the Syrian war. I said that I worried that it would go the way Iraq went.

Saddam managed to put down the rebels in the south and north in 1990. For 13 more years of containment and economic sanctions, the Iraqis had the worst of both worlds: Saddam regime and economic sanctions. 9/11 and a bold US president changed that into an invasion and occupation. Then a civil war, then chaos, and now ISIS.

25 years after Saddam brutally crushed his opposition, Iraq is still suffering. This is what Syrians have to look for if a political solution is not reached and if Assad and his army managed to put down the revolution.

May 18th, 2015, 12:34 am


Mina said:

Remember when the videos of the so called Syrian “rebels” would have some djihadists with North African accents? For those who were not Libyans (these were sent even before the fall of Kadhaffi with the help of the Turks), they were probably Moroccans

May 18th, 2015, 2:48 am



Assad´s Syria is receiving the harvest of 45 years creating terrorism, murder and hate in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon (specially in Lebanon), Jordan and Palestine. I am sorry for the syrians but Syria is not their property but Assad´s property and this is why Syria will be hardly punished by what the regime did in the past. Nobody in the House of Assad or in the United Nations cares a shitxx about the syrians and their lifes. Syrians are nothing else than nomads and beggars in the Land of Assad.

May 18th, 2015, 5:13 am


ALAN said:

أيها السوريون
قاطعوا هذا المحفل الصهيوني الذي سيدعو بالتأكيد في خلاصته الى تقسيم سوريا ، بل واجب عليكم التصدي له بكل ما تملكون من قوة .

May 18th, 2015, 5:49 am




Do not blame it on the sionists or the arabs, it is your stupid idol who provoked not only the partition but maybe the dissolution of Syria too.

Was not for Assad Syria would be now a great power in the Middle East with oil, gas, lands and wáter with excellent diplomatic relations with Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

But the House of Assad decided that Syria would be Assad´s Syria or would not be.

Take care

May 18th, 2015, 6:00 am


Alan said:

My idol is my country.
But your idol is Oded Yinon Plan, the revelation that inspires your comments.

May 18th, 2015, 8:21 am



13 ALAN,

Your plan was to steal everything by building a new Syria through a sectarian God inspired protected dictatorship and look what you have achieved.


May 18th, 2015, 8:35 am


Ghufran said:

The fall of ramadi was a slap on the face of the Iraqi government and the US also, now the pentagon gave the green light for Shia militia to attack Isis and thus inviting Iran to help retake ramadi and score another political win in Iraq.
Since the US is not willing to commit troops and has been unable to stop Isis, and since the Iraqi army is unreliable there, military leadership in NATO will be forced to deal with Iran.
Those who were waiting for the GCC and turkey to help are fools, you should not expect the MB and the Wahhabis to attack their political allies ( jihadists).
Let us see who wil stop Isis in Syria !!

May 18th, 2015, 5:15 pm


jamal said:

Only Alassad the son is able to defeat ISIL. It’s just a matter of time before the West will kneel and crawl to his feet asking his help to eradicate these creatures.

Till now he did not put on his military uniform yet.

May 18th, 2015, 6:05 pm


Ghufran said:

This is a long piece but it is worth reading, I can not verify its authenticity but it seems to agree with what we know about Isis :

لم اكن اعرف ان عنصر النتظيم الذي تواصل معي من الرقة لاعطائي بعض الاخبار عما يجري هناك بصفتي الصحفية هو صديقي الذي قضيت انا وهو سنوات الدراسة الابتدائية لم يكن من ساسميه هنا ((ابو محمد)) في تلك السنوات سوى طالب مجتهد ومسالم ، لم يكن ممن يثيرون الشعب في الحصص الدراسة او ممن يستخدمون الحيل للهرب من الواجبات الدارسية ، لكن في مرحلة عمرية صغيرة لم تتجاوز الخمسة عشر عاما التحق ابو محمد الطفل الصغير في صفوف الحركة الفدائية الفلسطينية وسافر الى لبنان ، كان وقتها الكثير من زملائنا الطلاب يفعلون هذا خاصة ممن كانوا متعثرين في الدراسة وهو لم يكن كذلك. اخر مرة التقيت فيها ((ابو محمد)) كان قادما من لبنان وكنت احضر مهرجان لانطلاقة حركة فتح في سينما النجوم في مخيم فلسطين تقيمه حركة فتح الانتفاضة حضر ابو محمد واخذ يستعرض لي بعض الصور التي التقطها وهو يحمل الاسلحة ويلبس بدلة عسكرية في مواقع الفدائيين في لبنان ، كان هذا ربما في عام 1991. من يومها لم ارى ((ابو محمد)) او اسمع عنه شيئا.
ما دار بينا وبين ((ابو محمد)) منذ ايام انه ذكرني بنفسه عبر احد مواقع التواصل على الانترنت . وما كان مني الا ان طرحت عليه السؤوال البدهي ما الذي تفعله مع تنظيم الدولة الان؟؟ .
قال(( ابو محمد )): انني وجدت طريق الحق فاتبعته قلت له وكيف دخلت الى التنظيم .. قال قاتلت معه في العراق ضد القوات الامريكية .
قلت.. وماادراك ان هذا طريق الحق؟.. قال وما ادراك انه غير ذلك؟
قلت .. طريق الحق لا يكون فيه قتل وذبح وحرق وسبي ..
قال… انت لم تقرأ تاريخ المسلمين يا صديقي اذن…. المسلمين فتحوا ارض الله بالسيف وهل كانت النساء لا تسبى في جيش رسول الله والصحابة والتابعيين والقادة المسلمين.مشكلتكم انكم ضليتم عن الحق والطريق القويم واتبعتم افكار الغرب في عبادة القومية او الشيوعية وطرق الحياة الغربية الكافرة. الم يحرق خالد بن الوليد الاسرى ؟؟ الم يقطع عمر رؤوسا ؟؟ هل علقهم على حبال مشانق كم يفعل الغربيون وانتم تقلدونهم. الم يهدم الصحابة رضوان الله عليهم التماثيل والاوثان؟؟ وانتم ترددون ما يقوله الغرب كالببغاءات ان هذه تراث هل في الاسلام شيء اسمه تراث؟؟
هل كان الطيار الاردني في نزهة ؟؟ هل تعرف كم واحد وكم امراة وكم طفل احرق بطائرته. الم يقل الله تعالى في كتبه ومن اعتدى عليكم فاعتدوا عليهم بمثل ما اعتدوا. لماذا تخالفون شرع الله وانتم تعلمونه؟؟ غرتكم الحياة الدنيا وما الحياة الدنيا الا متاع الغرور.
قلت … ما اعرفه ان النبي جاء رحمة للعالمين وان النبي اوصى بالضعيف والمسكين . واوصى لجيشيه في كل غزواته ان لا تقطعوا شجرة ولا تقتلوا شيخا ولا تقتلوا اعزلا. ما اعرفه يا صديقي ان الرسول وقف يوم فتح مكة وقال من دخل بيت الله فهو امن، ومن دخل بيته فهو امن، ومن دخل دار ابو سفيان فهو امن .. وقال لاهل المكة الذين ظلموه وااذوه اذهبوا فانتم الطلقاء… ما اعرفه في الدين وانا لست شيخا ولا فقيها كما تعرف.. ان لا اكراه في الدين من شاء فليؤمن ومن شاء فليكفر.
ما اعرفه انكم كرهتم المسلمين بدينهم واعطيتم فرصة لاعداء الاسلام ليقولوا انظروا هذا هو دينهم دين قتل وحرق وظلم واستعباد للبشر، وشوهتم دين النبي محمد الذي جاء لنشر الخير والسلام والتسامح.
ما اعرفه ان دين الاسلام لا يتعارض مع التطور والعلم والمعرفة (( اطلبوا العلم من المهد الى اللحد)). ما اعرفه ان النبي كان قلبه لينا يبكي لوجع الضعيف والمحروم. لم يكن قاسيا يخطف الطفل من حضن امه . مااعرفه انه زار جاره اليهودي عندما مرض . واوصى بالمسيحيين واهل الكتاب
لست فقهيا لادخل في تفاصيل ما فعل الصحابة ان كان شرعيا او موجود وغير موجود في كتب السلف. لكن بالعقل الذي اعطاني ياه الله، استطيع ان اجزم ان اي دين يبيح قتل الناس بالجملة ويسعى لتخلفهم ويمثل بجثثهم ويزيد من معناتهم ويخيفهم هو ليس من عند الله ،لان الله رحيم بعباده وجميل، وخلق الارض لنسعى فيها ونحيا لا ان نموت بالجملة بسيف او سيارة مفخخه . من انتم حتى تنهوا حياة بشري من اي ديانة كان او مذهب؟؟ من انتم حتى تحرموا كائنا من الحياة بين اهله واولاده . هل انتم موكلون من الله؟؟
يرد ((ابو محمد))… تتكلم وكأننا نحن الظالمون .. نحن لا نملك اسلحة ذرية او نووية حتى نهدم الارض اذهب الى اؤلك الغربيين واعوانهم من حكام العرب وقل لهم هذا الكلام. قلهم من افقر المجتمعات وقتل الناس في الارض بالجملة دون وجه حق؟؟ نحن المظلومين في الارض وهم الظالمون . واذا كان لكلمة الله ان ترفع الظلم فلابد من السيف الذي يعادل القوة بالقوة فلا يفل الحديد الا الحديد.
((اقاطع ابو محمد))… طيب اذهبوا وقاتلوا الغرب. انتم تقلتوا الفقراء في سوريا والعراق ولبنان …لتنتصروا على الغرب؟؟
((ابو محمد)) لمشروعنا مراحل وسياتي اليوم الذي ندك حصون الغرب بعد ان ننتهي من عملائهم في ارض الاسلام الشريح يطول في هذا.
ثم انت لم تكمل ما فعل النبي في مكة بعد الفتح راح يهدم الاوثان والصور والاصنام بيده.
يحاول ابو محمد ان ينهي النقاش
قبل ان تغادر اقول…. هل تعتبرني كافرا؟؟؟
((ابو محمد)) .. انت مشرك وتعمل مع المشركين
من هم المشركون ؟؟
((ابو محمد)) كل من اشرك في عبادة الله احد او شيئا؟؟
اذا كيف انا مشرك؟؟ وانا لا اعبد الا الله
(( ابو محمد)) انت تعمل في بث الضلال للناس تتحدثون عن القومية وتدافعون عن الحكومات العربية .. عملك غير شرعي ولا يتوافق مع الدين والشريعة. والله اعلم
يعني استحق الاعدام.؟؟
((ابو محمد)) لست قاضيا شرعيا لاصدر حكما
ولكن اغلب الظن ان حكمك الاعدام.
اذا طلبوا منك تنفيذ الاعدام بي تفعل؟؟
((ابو محمد)) طبعا افعل.
(رأي اليوم, raialyoum)
Points to consider ;
1. Isis has more support among Muslims than many are willing to admit.
2. The message of Isis attracts and will continue to attract many young Muslims.
3.,you can not defeat the monster called Isis by force only. Western and arab governments have realized that finally but are doing very little to add political and economic tools to help the world get rid of this sick phenomenon.
Isis has functions that go beyond the obvious, it helps oppressive regimes sell their product (we are bad but Isis is worse), it provides the West and Israel a convenient way to tarnish the reputation of Islam, create an enemy and increase arms sales and squeeze the arms of regional governments.
4. Isis message is not only coming ftom Isis spoke persons, its message is also spreading by Muslim sheikhs operating in the GCC and other Islamic countries.
5. Israel on paper should be a natural target for Isis anti western ideology but we yet to see Isis fires a single bullet to liberate Palestinian land or help the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel.
You do the math.

May 18th, 2015, 6:39 pm


Observer said:

I also do not know if this story is true, but if it is then this is another sign of the complete barbarity of the pro regime militia. Even if it only involved troops raping the children it is barbarity let alone force the parent to rape his own children. Again I have now way of knowing if it is true or not but the story is out and some will believe it as they are disposed to believe whatever they want and it will only spiral into an endless cycle of violence. In Ukraine a hungry orphan boy in 1943 goes to ask a German guard for food and the guard goes and brings him a bucket filled with excrement and laughs at the orphan. This is an example that any man is capable if the ideology of demonization takes root of doing the unthinkable

May 18th, 2015, 9:17 pm


Juergen said:

Kafranbel Water Project 2015

May 18th, 2015, 11:12 pm


Hopeful said:

#17 Ghufran

Our problem in the Arab World is this:

May 19th, 2015, 2:19 am


Ziad Abu Fadel said:

I don’t know how these imbeciles find ways to embarrass themselves publicly with these meaningless junkets. There’s not a one among these jokers who knows the first thing about Syria’s conflict or Syria, for that matter. While Landis would add nothing to the sorry mix of degenerates and perverts descending upon Scotland, it probably will not damage Landis’ reputation to not be a part of this spectacle of Pangloss-like quacks. It makes no difference what they do or say, our Syrian Army is beating the Jihadist rats into the ground. Long live Dr. Bashar Al-Assad.

May 19th, 2015, 8:35 am


Ghufran said:

Another area in Idleb is now in Nusra’s hands after Syrian army troops could not stop terrorists advances in Mastouma camp and surrounding area.
This puts most of Idleb under Nusra’s control.

May 19th, 2015, 11:32 am


Juergen said:

Does anyone remember this interview, made by a german freelance Journalist?

Now, the email correspondence preparing this interview leaked. “Princess Jaafari” helped tremendously. And no surprise, Todenhöfer the symbol of objectivity and integrity here in Germany seem to have a crush on bloody dictators. ( a lust he has since the 70s)

Quite interesting read!

May 19th, 2015, 12:09 pm


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