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The Future of Syria and the Regional Arms Race


The Syrian conflict remains one of the most troubling foreign policy issues facing the international community since the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011. While the number of civilian casualties and displaced persons escalates, a renewed diplomatic effort seems to be losing steam, thus projecting a grim outlook onto the future of the country. This paper addresses some of the open questions in the Syrian crisis, namely the weaknesses of the opposition groups, the funding and arming of the opposition, the differences between the so-called moderate and extremist forces within it and the humanitarian aid provided to the Syrian refugees, focusing on the active engagement of the Arab Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Conflicts between the strategies pursued by these two players could further weaken the Syrian opposition. Against this backdrop, a more or less covert arms race is already taking place, which now risks spreading out both in geographical scope and intensity over the Summer.