Though the conflict in Syria shows no signs of abating, and hopes for the Geneva II talks in January are dim, this paper argues it is never too early to start planning for peace. The paper examines three recent post-conflict transitions in the Middle East—Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen—and draws lessons for Syria. Among them are the following:
• Drawing from the US experience in Iraq, Bennett argues that while elements of the current regime in Syria may need to go, the state must remain strong to promote stability and encourage post-conflict economic growth.
• Drawing lessons from the Taif Agreement in Lebanon, Bennett argues that Syrians must avoid official sectarianism and focus on establishing a cohesive national identity.
• Drawing from the role of the GCC in the Yemen transition, Bennett argues that regional cooperation, especially on the issue of Syrian refugees, will be critical to ensuring long term security and stability in the Middle East.
This is the third paper in IPI’s project, “The Middle East in Transition: Catalysts for Regional and International Cooperation on Humanitarian and Development Affairs.”
About the author
Christina Bennett is an independent policy analyst, who has worked for the United Nations and several international policy institutes on humanitarian, transition, and postconflict peacebuilding policy.