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Why Syria Matters to You

Firstly, I want to thank all of you who reserved your online seat for the premiere of my new documentary, Crisis & Chaos: Are We Moving Toward World War III? The keen response has shown us just how many of you are deeply concerned about the turmoil casting a shadow on most of the Eastern Hemisphere and its potential effects on the United States.

With a week to go before the exclusive premiere on September 26, you still have time to save your seat—and get a special bonus report from Geopolitical Futures, American Exposure to the European Financial Crisis. You can do so right here.

And now, let’s dig into this week’s edition of This Week in Geopolitics.

The war in Syria is significant in two ways. First, the outcome can reshape the Arab Middle East. Second, and perhaps more important, Syria is not simply about Syrians. The US, Russian, Iranian, Turkish, and French forces are engaged there along with the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaida, and secular Arabs. The Saudis and the rest of the Arab monarchies also exert political and economic influence on Syria.

I have written in the past about how the growing crises in Eurasia are increasingly interacting. Syria is the place where that interaction is the greatest and most violent.

Prior to World War II, there was a civil war in Spain. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy sent troops. The Soviet Union did as well. In addition, leftists from around the world flocked there to fight. The French and British refused to get involved, trying not to be drawn in. The Spanish Civil War was said to be a rehearsal for World War II. The major players of the European war were there—though some weren’t. New weapons were tried out. The civil war ended in April 1939, five months before Germany invaded Poland, which began World War II.

Syria is drawing in major global and regional powers. When, for example, the US and Russia are engaged in a country—with very different goals and supporting hostile factions—it is certainly not something to dismiss out of hand. On the contrary, Syria matters a great deal. If nothing else, it has become a test of the strength of powers with interests far beyond Syria.

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