Syrian WarSectarianism & USMilitary Assistance toSyrian OppositionAnalysis from Charles Lister, IHSJane’s Terrorism & Insu...
Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 2The story• On 13 June, the US government announced that it intends toprovide military assistanc...
Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 3Context – Military Support• The US decision to increase its military assistance to the Syrianop...
Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 4Context – Sectarian Aspects• The Syrian war has become dominated by sectarian rhetoric andmotiv...
Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 5Outlook and implications• The US decision to increase military support to the moderateoppositio...
Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 6This rapid reaction piece has beenabridged from more in-depth analysis inIHS Jane’s Terrorism &...
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IHS Analysis - Syrian War Sectarianism and US Military Assistance to Syrian Opposition

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On 13 June, the United States government announced it intended to provide military assistance to Syria’s armed opposition after concluding the country’s military had used chemical weapons. Also that day, a conference of senior Middle Eastern Sunni Muslim leadership expressed its support to the “Islamic resistance” in Syria.

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IHS Analysis - Syrian War Sectarianism and US Military Assistance to Syrian Opposition

  1. 1. Syrian WarSectarianism & USMilitary Assistance toSyrian OppositionAnalysis from Charles Lister, IHSJane’s Terrorism & InsurgencyCentre Analyst
  2. 2. Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 2The story• On 13 June, the US government announced that it intends toprovide military assistance to Syria’s armed opposition• The US has concluded that the Syrian military has used chemicalweapons• Also on 13 June a conference of senior Middle Eastern SunniMuslim leadership expressed its support to the “Islamicresistance” in Syria
  3. 3. Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 3Context – Military Support• The US decision to increase its military assistance to the Syrianopposition is an extremely significant move• It comes as the conflict in Syria has become increasinglysectarian and as regional players have become directly involvedto an extent not seen before• However, it also comes as regional support for Islamist militantgroups appears to have increased – indicating a potential divisionin political objectives with the US and other Western states
  4. 4. Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 4Context – Sectarian Aspects• The Syrian war has become dominated by sectarian rhetoric andmotivations• Foreign fighters, Sunni and Shia, appear to be flocking to Syria tojoin their respective sides• Both Sunni and Shia have now been accused of committingalleged massacres and both sides appear to be receiving foreignstate backing• Hizbullahs critical involvement in the capturing of Al-Qusayr waspivotal – Shia escalation has sparked Sunni escalation• At least 12 prominent Sunni clerics have issued edicts calling for“jihad” against Syria and Hizbullah in May and June
  5. 5. Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 5Outlook and implications• The US decision to increase military support to the moderateopposition suggests that the likelihood of progress on anegotiating table is slim at best• The imposition of a no-fly zone near the southern Jordanianborder seems a feasible eventuality, especially given the strongpresence in that region of moderate rebel groups• The much-speculated issue of sending anti-aircraft weapons stillappears unlikely• If Arab states have now shifted their support towards moreavowedly Islamist rebel groups, any Western initiative to backmore moderate forces may be considerably weakened
  6. 6. Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 6This rapid reaction piece has beenabridged from more in-depth analysis inIHS Jane’s Terrorism & InsurgencyCentre.www.ihs.com/jtic

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