1. Robert Malley of the International Crisis Grouptalks to Terry Gross about how the war in Syria is changing the understanding of borders in the region:

We really need to change our mental grid, our political compass. This is not a war that is being fought by nation-states. Borders are being erased. Borders are becoming liquid in a way and … Hezbollah’s fighting in Syria. We could also say that some Sunnis in Lebanon are fighting in Syria as well. Some Sunni rebels are firing back into Lebanon against Hezbollah targets. Iraqi Shiites are fighting on behalf of the regime, just as Iraqi Sunnis are trying to help their coreligionists in Syria. So I think you have to think of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as one giant integrated area of conflict in which national boundaries count much less than sectarian concessional boundaries.
View in High-Res

    Robert Malley of the International Crisis Grouptalks to Terry Gross about how the war in Syria is changing the understanding of borders in the region:

    We really need to change our mental grid, our political compass. This is not a war that is being fought by nation-states. Borders are being erased. Borders are becoming liquid in a way and … Hezbollah’s fighting in Syria. We could also say that some Sunnis in Lebanon are fighting in Syria as well. Some Sunni rebels are firing back into Lebanon against Hezbollah targets. Iraqi Shiites are fighting on behalf of the regime, just as Iraqi Sunnis are trying to help their coreligionists in Syria. So I think you have to think of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as one giant integrated area of conflict in which national boundaries count much less than sectarian concessional boundaries.

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Robert Malley

    Syria

    International Crisis Group

  1. This has become not just a war within Syria. It has become a regional, sectarian civil war. Perhaps the best way to put it is to say that what was a war in Syria with regional spillover has now become a regional war with a Syrian focus.

    — Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group talks with Terry Gross about the expansion of the war in Syria.

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Robert Malley

    Syria

    International Crisis Group

  1. In some ways, the region is topsy-turvy and it preceded what happened in Syria. Syria is bringing it really to light [that] all the alliances — or so many of the alliances that we were familiar with — are things of the past, and this is something that I think the United States is going to have to cope with and deal with. … In Syria, you have obviously countries that are theocratic countries … like Saudi Arabia … that are certainly far from being democratic … that are on the side of those who are rising up against President Assad, but they’re also supporting the Salafists in Syria, who are not rising up for the sake of democracy, but for a very different purpose. … Then you have a country like Iran which is backing not just a secular regime or semi-secular regime in Syria, but one that has repressed its own Islamists, but backing it because of an age-old alliance between those two countries, and you have an organization like Hezbollah…which is backing the regime in Syria even though its former ally in this axis of resistance against Israel, Hamas, is opposing the regime.

    So, I think, the fault lines have become slightly clearer but they’re fault lines that are not democrats versus non-democrats. Although many Syrians are rising up because they want to change the nature of the regime, the fault line is very much Sunni against Shiite; it’s Persian-Iranian against Arabs. That’s why a number of these alliances seem to us at least as Americans quite unnatural. … The region has become really a smorgasbord in terms of its alliances, and … something this unnatural just can’t end well because these alliances are not clear cut, they don’t make sense in terms of the political logic, they are temporary alliances, they are alliances of convenience.

    — Robert Malley, International Crisis Group’s program director for the Middle East and North Africa, on why the alliances among Middle Eastern countries are difficult for Americans to untangle

  2. Robert Malley

    International Crisis Group

    Fresh Air

    Syria

  1. Tomorrow’s Fresh Air: Democracy movements are sweeping across the Middle East. But the dramatic changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria have not yet come to the West Bank. If and when that does occur, it could be a game-changer for Israel and the United States according to Robert Malley. He’s the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group. View in High-Res

    Tomorrow’s Fresh Air: Democracy movements are sweeping across the Middle East. But the dramatic changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria have not yet come to the West Bank. If and when that does occur, it could be a game-changer for Israel and the United States according to Robert Malley. He’s the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group.

  2. middle east

    arab spring

    robert malley

    international crisis group

    syria

    libya

    egypt

    israel

    west bank