Syria Contextualized: The Numbers Game

Middle East Policy, Vol. XX, No. 1, Spring 2013

16 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2017

Date Written: March 13, 2013


The popular discourse on the Syrian conflict has largely taken for granted that Bashar al-Asad and his regime are unpopular in Syria, the revolution is widely supported domestically, the rebels are “winning” the war, and the fall of the regime is inevitable and imminent. To justify their interpretation of the conflict, opposition activists, Western policy makers and media outlets make frequent reference to a number of “facts,” often statistical in nature. However, should we contextualize this data more rigorously, it becomes apparent that a radically different dynamic may be at work “on the ground” in Syria. This becomes important, as a more nuanced understanding of what is happening will have implications for what strategy the United States should pursue.

Keywords: Syria, Civil War, Conflict and Peace Studies, Statistics, Sociology of Knowledge

JEL Classification: C12, Z18, F51, F52, F53

Suggested Citation

al-Gharbi, Musa, Syria Contextualized: The Numbers Game (March 13, 2013). Middle East Policy, Vol. XX, No. 1, Spring 2013, Available at SSRN:

Musa Al-Gharbi (Contact Author)

Stony Brook University ( email )

United States

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