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Defying the hegemon: Syria and the Iraq War

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What are the explanations for and consequences of Syria's defiance of the United States over the Iraq war? Although President Bashar al-Asad had sought to realign Syria westward, the failure of the SyriaIsrael peace process and Syria's oil deals with Iraq soured USSyrian relations while Syria's opposition to the invasion of Iraq created a crisis in which US threats and sanctions targeted Damascus. Syria's Arab nationalist identity made regime acquiescence in overt aggression against an Arab state is impossible. The regime adapted to US pressures with a mix of concessions and counter-pressures. It held stubbornly to its regional cards, bending when pressures were maximized, but seemingly outlasting the US campaign against it.
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Keywords: Iraq war; Syria; SyrianUS relations; United States

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of St. Andrews.

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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