After several years of ongoing civil war in Syria, the country is no closer to a resolution of its deep-seated social and political crises. Different international state and non-state actors have taken an interest in helping to solve the Syrian problem, but often on their own terms, and in most cases exacerbating the local conflict. Whether Syria can ever reemerge as a unified country remains at this time unknown, but the historical legacies of the current conflict and the bitterness of the ongoing civil war will likely mean continued contestation to whoever comes to control Syria eventually.
Dr. Diederik (Dirk) Vandewalle teaches in the Government Department and the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on the economic and political development of oil economies in North Africa and the Middle East, and he is the author of Libya Since Independence: Oil and State-building (Cornell University Press), A History of Modern Libya (First and Second editions, Cambridge University 2006, 2012; third French edition 2013) as well as several edited volumes on development in North Africa and Libya. He has lectured widely in academic and policy settings in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, has consulted extensively for international financial institutions working in North Africa and the Middle East, and was political advisor to the United Nations on Libya during the pre-assessment period in summer 2011.