The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
A seminar with Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami on their book Burning Countryon the complicated reality of life in present day Syria.
Co-sponsored by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the CMES Middle East Forum, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
About the book:
"In 2011, many Syrians took to the streets of Damascus to demand the overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad. Today, much of Syria has become a warzone and many worry that the country is on the brink of collapse.
Burning Country explores the complicated reality of life in present-day Syria with unprecedented detail and sophistication, drawing on new first-hand testimonies from opposition fighters, exiles lost in an archipelago of refugee camps, and courageous human rights activists. Yassin-Kassab and Al-Shami expertly interweave these stories with an incisive analysis of the militarization of the uprising, the rise of the Islamists and sectarian warfare, and the role of Syria’s government in exacerbating the brutalization of the conflict. Through these accounts and a broad range of secondary source material, the authors persuasively argue that the international community has failed in its stated commitments to support the Syrian opposition movements.
Covering ISIS and Islamism, regional geopolitics, new grassroots revolutionary organizations, and the worst refugee crisis since World War Two, Burning Country is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a modern-day political and humanitarian nightmare."
-University of Chicago Press
About the Authors:
Robin Yassin-Kassab is a journalist and a regular media commentator on Syria and the Middle East. Yassin-Kassab is author of the novel The Road from Damascus (Hamish Hamilton and Penguin, 2009). He is co-author of the forthcoming book on the Syrian revolution and war, Burning Country (Pluto, January 2016). He co-edits www.pulsemedia.org and blogs at www.qunfuz.com.
Leila Al-Shami is co-author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War and was a founding member of Tahrir-ICN a network connecting anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.