On September 30, 2015 Russia intervened in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. The intervention definatively changed the scope of the war beyond an internal civil war and in some ways dramatically raised the stakes for the international community. The United States has been supporting the mostly Sunni rebels against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, leader of a mostly Shia government. The Russian military supports Assad. All sides claim to be fighting terrorists of the Islamic State. It seems clear that the complex histories of colonialism, nationalism, imperialism, Cold War, the War on Terror and the Arab Spring are playing important roles in this conflict. What are some of the impacts that these histories have had on the way this conflict has played out so far? What role might history have played in Russia’s decision to intervene? What does history tell us about the possible outcomes of these kinds of international interventions?
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