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School of Politics and International Relations

How the wars in Libya and Syria are strangely intertwined


"Amid ongoing instability, foreign intervention and regional brinksmanship, reverberations from one conflict are inevitably felt by the other," writes Dr Christopher Phillips, from Queen Mary University of London, in this opinion piece for Middle East Eye. Though the conflicts in Syria and Libya have taken different paths, the Libya war has frequently impacted events in Syria, with "reverberations felt in unexpected ways on the other side of the Mediterranean." Dr Phillips argues that one key way in which the Libya war has impacted Syria has been to inspire some opposition actors to take up arms in the first place. "When Syria's uprising began in March 2011, the early opposition movement against President Bashar al-Assad was consciously peaceful, taking its cues from the successful bloodless revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt months earlier. Yet, when this failed to achieve the rapid success seen elsewhere and Assad responded with brutal violence, some looked instead to the Libyan model of revolution, where armed rebels had toppled Muammar Gaddafi." Dr Phillips also explores how events in Libya have impacted western views of the Syria crisis, the Turkey-Russia rivalry and a "sad pattern" emerging for the future of Syria and Libya.

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