Assessing the impact of external actors in the Syrian and Afghan proxy wars

Funding: Carnegie Corporation 2018 – 2020

Investigators: Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh, Dr Dara Conduit and Dr Zahid Shahab Ahmed

Regional proxy conflicts have become a most significant threat to peace and security in the Middle East and South Asia. This is a dangerous trend because the involvement of foreign actors in domestic conflicts risks the spread of tension across two of the world’s most volatile regions. With the Carnegie Corporation’s support, the proposed project will undertake a comparative analysis of the proxy wars in Syria and Afghanistan to examine the impact that external players have had on the conflicts, and to advance new understandings on the evolving role of states and non-state actors in the regions.

This project represents an exciting opportunity to bridge the divide between researchers and policymakers. It will bring together policymakers, academics and practitioners from across the Middle East and South/Central Asia as stakeholders to explore multilateral policy alternatives. These stakeholders will be involved in the project at every step of the way, from setting initial priorities, to providing policy recommendations and giving feedback on the final report. The deep involvement of local expertise will support the development of locally driven and evidence-based policy responses to proxy conflicts, and maximise the project impact.