Crisis in Syria: Behind the Headlines

24 September 2013

Bombed out vehicles Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. Credit: Voice of America News.
Bombed out vehicles Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. Credit: Voice of America News.

A discussion on the conflict in Syria which will address themes such as security, the effectiveness and ethics of the use of military force and the historical context of this complex situation will be held on Thursday 26 September in the Main Hall at the International Politics Department at Aberystwyth University.

The evening, held between 6-7.30pm, will begin with a round table discussion between academic staff at the University, and will be followed with an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions, make comments and engage in a discussion with the speakers.

Dr Jenny Mathers, the Head of Department and a specialist on Russian politics and security, explains; “The conflict in Syria has dominated the headlines in recent weeks and we hope that this discussion will help to highlight some of the less-familiar aspects of this crisis.

“Much of the media coverage has focussed on a very narrow range of explanations and policy prescriptions, but the Syria crisis is made up of many, complex components.

“Members of the International Politics Department will be able to point to deep, underlying issues as well as possible implications for the region and for the way that the international community responds to violations of international treaties, civil wars and humanitarian emergencies.

“We hope that this event will be attended by members of the local community as well as by students and staff at the University”, she added.

Eight speakers will be taking part in the debate; Professor Mike Foley, Dr Jenny Mathers, Dr Jan Ruzicka, Dr Kristian Stoddart, Dr Ayla Gol, Dr Kamila Stullerova, Dr Grant Dawson and Dr Jim Vaughan.

Professor Mike Foley’s research includes work on presidential politics, constitutional theory, foreign policy, and the history of ideas. Current research includes a broad study of political leadership in its various contexts.

Dr Jenny Mathers is Head of the Department of International Politics. Her teaching and research spans two broad areas: Russian politics and security; and gender and war. Her published work addresses topics such as nuclear weapons, Russia’s conflicts in Chechnya and women who serve as soldiers in state militaries.

Dr Jan Ruzicka’s research interests can broadly be divided into three main areas: security studies, international relations theory, and area studies with emphasis on Central Europe. In security studies his research focuses on theories of security, the relationship between politics and security, nuclear weapons and emerging security threats.

Dr Kristian Stoddart’s research covers global nuclear weapons issues and nuclear history, the Intelligence Studies field and increasingly in new technology and Cyber Security issues. Kristian serves as Executive Secretary of the Centre for Intelligence and International Security Studies (CIISS) and is also a member of the Project on Nuclear Issues run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington DC).

Dr Ayla Gol’s research interests focus on Islamic studies, nationalism, identity politics, foreign policy analysis and Postcolonial politics with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Eurasia, the Caucasus, and Turkey.

Dr Kamila Stullerova’s area of research lies at the crossroads of three sub-fields of international politics: international relations theory, international political theory and security studies.

Dr Grant Dawson joined the Department in July 2009 as Deputy Director, David Davies Memorial Institute of International Affairs. He previously taught history and political science at the undergraduate and graduate level at Carleton University, Ottawa.

Dr Jim Vaughan specialises in the history of British and American diplomatic policy towards the Middle East. His current research focuses upon the changing attitudes and policies of Britain’s major political parties towards Zionism, Israel, Palestinian nationalism and the Arab-Israel dispute.

The Crisis in Syria: Behind the Headlines discussion takes place on Thursday 26 September in the Main Hall at the International Politics Department at Aberystwyth University from 6-7.30pm.


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Dr Jenny Mathers
International Politics Department
01970 622705

Arthur Dafis
Communications and Public Affairs
01970 621763 / 07841 979 452