Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (2) – a Victorious United Government?

After having focused on understanding the actors in Libya’s civil war, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluating their likelihood. The first phases for this scenario were presented here (scenario 1.1 “Peace treaty signed” and 1.1.1. “Unity Government formed”) and the organisation of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can be found here. The analysis and indicators below suggest that sub-scenario 1.1.1.1 is unlikely to succeed without international assistance, which we shall discuss in sub-scenario 1.1.1.2. Scenarios 1: Towards Peace – continued Summary of the previous phase-scenarios The… Read More

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Facing the Fog of War in Syria: the Rise of the Salafi-Nationalists?

Since October 2013, much has been going on in Syria. We shall first review major changes in the state of play for the Syrian actors, starting with the Salafi-Nationalist groups, before to re-evaluate our scenarios and their indicators in the light of recent events, notably Geneva 2. As was already underway during September, the various groups opposing the regime of Bashar al-Assad have pursued their reconfiguration, while the relationships and interactions among them have evolved. A logical evolution: the Islamic Front If the “Islamic framework” (see update 21 Oct), created on 24 September 2013, was short-lived, as expected by many experts, it was nevertheless an important indication of the changes taking place on the ground, while its very composition foretold the… Read More

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Strategic Intelligence for Syria – Scenario 3.3.2. A Truly Secular Syria?

This post will outline the last but one scenario for Syria for the short to medium term, i.e. “a Secular Syria” resulting from a real victory by one of the warring groups. Considering the current state of play, this scenario is unlikely, even utopic. Yet, imagining it will also suggest possible policy and strategy that could change the odds.
The various scenarios constructed over the last weeks are summarized in a graph, which starts exploring ways to look at sets of scenarios as a systemic and dynamic whole.

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Strategic Intelligence for Syria (8) – Scenario 3. A Nationalist Islamic Syria or a Muslim Brotherhood’s Syria?

This post continues exploring various scenarios around the theme of “a real victory in Syria” by one or the other groups fighting on the ground, starting first with a Nationalist Islamic Syria, and then moving to a Syria under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. For each scenario, current estimates of likelihood will be outlined and some indicators influencing probability will be suggested.

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Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (7) – Scenario 3.1: A Real Victory – an Islamic Al-Sham?

Considering the current state of play, scenario 3: A Real Victory in Syria, and its sub-scenarios are rather unlikely in the short-term. However, they are worth outlining because they bring analytical insight into dynamics and potential strategies to favour or counter one or the other possibility, according to interests, and because they could be relevant for the medium term. The chaos and beginning of “warlordism” that characterizes the Syrian situation, as emphasised by analysts, (e.g. Joshua Landis, 1 May 2013, Syria Comment; Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, 14 May 2013, Jihadology; see also first post of the series on Syria) lead to the relatively small probability to see any of those scenarios (or rather variations on them) happening. Nonetheless, as for scenario 1: Peace in… Read More

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Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (6) – Scenario 2: No Syrian in Geneva

Scenario 2: No Syrian in Geneva The diplomatic talks fail and the international conference in Geneva does not take place or is a face-saving sham (see “Scenario 1: Peace in Geneva?” and its sub scenarios for what could result from a true international conference). Considering the current forces on the ground and their balance, we would face a lengthening conflict (probably over years rather than months) with rising prospects of regional and global involvement and chaos. The scope and depth of regional and global spill over would increase with the duration of the Syrian civil war, and, in turn, fuel it. The spill over and contagion would most probably take four shapes (not mutually exclusive). First, we would face any… Read More

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Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (5) – Scenario 1: Peace in Geneva?

(Updated 22 May 2013) Now that we know and understand better the actors present on the Syrian battlefield, we may start outlining scenarios regarding first plausible futures for Syria and prospects for peace over the short to medium term, and second the regional implications of those scenarios, as the regional and even global geostrategic dimensions of the war in Syria are becoming clearer everyday. Scenario 1: Negotiating Peace for Syria in Geneva The diplomatic talks promoting a negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war are successful and negotiations start. Sub-scenario 1.1.: All but the Jihadis The actors brought around the table are the NC and the Supreme Joint Military Command Council (SMC), the regime of Bashar al-Assad represented by a… Read More

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Strategic Intelligence Assessment for Syria (4) – State of Play Part III

Detailed state of play for the Syrian Sunni Factions between May 2013 and January 2014 (open access) with actors mappings (members only).