Tag Archives: Max Abrahms

Experts tackle Syria conflict and its global impact


October 10, 2013 by 
Syria and the World
Three Middle East experts discussed the civil war in Syria on Tuesday evening at Northeastern. From left to right, Rami Khouri, Valentine Moghadam, and Franck Salameh. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Polit­ical jour­nalist Rami Khouri char­ac­ter­izes the Syrian con­flict as history’s “biggest proxy war,” one in which the majority of actors believe they are fighting an “exis­ten­tial battle.”

Speaking on Tuesday at North­eastern during a panel dis­cus­sion on the global impact of the civil war in Syria, he noted that internal forces are afraid to lose in fear of being expelled from Syria, while external actors such as France and Russia “can’t afford to lose either because of their strategic inter­ests in the nation.”

What­ever the out­come, the war will end when Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. come to an agree­ment on a res­o­lu­tion. “An end will not come very quickly unless they talk and agree on a mech­a­nism to end the con­flict,” said Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Insti­tute for Public Policy and Inter­na­tional Affairs at the Amer­ican Uni­ver­sity of Beirut.

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How politically effective is terrorism?

September 13, 2013 by

Why do some mil­i­tant groups con­tinue to use ter­rorism when it’s polit­i­cally inef­fec­tive, even coun­ter­pro­duc­tive? The answer lies in their lead­er­ship deficits, according to Max Abrahms, a ter­rorism the­o­rist and newly appointed assis­tant pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence whose research over the last decade has thor­oughly exam­ined the question.

“Foot sol­diers are gen­er­ally not as smart as their leaders and have fewer incen­tives against harming civil­ians,” he explained. “When they gain tac­tical autonomy within the orga­ni­za­tion, they become more likely to commit the strategic folly of tar­geting civilians.”

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