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Break-Away Alawi State Causes More Problems than Solutions in Syria

WHO: Benjamin Jensen, assistant professor in American University's School of International Service and at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, focuses his research on international security and conflict analysis. In addition to his research, Dr. Jensen works as an adviser on military planning, intelligence, counterinsurgency, and stability operations. He is also an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve where he most recently served in Afghanistan.

WHAT: Available for radio, television, and print interviews
WHEN: July 25 – ongoing

WHERE: American University, in-studio, or via telephone.

American University School of International Service Prof. Benjamin Jensen argues in his July 22 Financial Times op-ed, “Alawi Split from Syria would spell disaster” that a break-away Alawi state poses more risks than solutions to the current conflict in Syria. Jensen believes, “The longer the conflict persists, the more likely it is to give rise to a separatist Alawite enclave.”

In his commentary Jensen highlights the five perils the formation of an Alawi state along the coast would present:
1)  Jensen asserts an Alawi state would be “a heavily armed rogue regime that would continue to act as a proxy for Iran and guarantee Russia a deepwater Mediterranean naval base in Tartous,”
2)  Jensen warns “Israel would be confronted not with one but two hostile regimes in the break-up of Syria, both of  
which might possess chemical weapons and missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv,”

3)  Jensen argues “the area would become a haven for criminals and terrorists” similar to other unrecognized quasi-
states like Abkhazia or South Ossetia,  

4)  An Alawi state would serve to “act as a catalyst to spread the conflict across the region” and;  

5)  According to Jensen “an Alawi state would set a dangerous precedent for other separatist groups, such as the Kurds in the region, and reignite Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq.”  

Prof. Jensen is also available to speak about other issues related to the conflict in Syria such as the threat of chemical and biological weapons, what U.S. , NATO, or other coalition military operations such as the establishment of a no-fly zone would require, and the logistical aspects of carrying out successful military operations.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.