Developments in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are so deeply intertwined that we might start speaking about these countries as a common space, as we do now with “Af-Pak.”
In less than a decade, pro-Iranian forces have entrenched themselves in Damascus and seized near absolute power in neighbouring Baghdad and Beirut. The structural marginalization of the Sunnis in Iraq and Lebanon is splitting these communities, as evident from the rise of Jihadi groups. This is the context of Syrian conflict.
Three years after the Arab uprising the “Syrian revolution” is dead and to label it the “Syrian conflict” would not entirely be right either. Due to its entanglement with existing political and sectarian divisions in Iraq and Lebanon the war is no longer strictly confined to Syria: the region is witnessing the emergence of a single theatre of war in what we could call the SIL region—Syria, Iraq, Lebanon.