FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Syria – Is this the tipping point?

Talk June 6, 2012 7:00 PM


Again Syria has hit the front pages, but will the recent massacre of more than 100 people, including dozens of children in Houla be the final straw for the international community?

Syrian diplomats have been expelled from seven countries including Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Canada in a co-ordinated expression of outrage.

But what next? Will UN-Arab envoy Kofi Annan be able to salvage his six-point peace plan during talks with President Bashar al-Assad? Or is civil war almost inevitable, as many commentators are now saying?

What options are on the table for the international community, the Assad regime and the opposition forces? Join us as we ask whether the deepening crisis in Syria is at a tipping point.

Chaired by¬†Ian Black, the Guardian’s Middle East editor. In more than 25 years on the paper he has also been its European editor, diplomatic editor, foreign leader writer and Middle East correspondent


Christopher Phillips, lecturer in International Relations of the Middle East at Queen Mary, University of London. Formerly Syria analyst in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Middle East team and author of Contemporary Arab Identity: The daily reproduction of the Arab World.

Dr Rim Turkmani, a Syrian astrophysicist, science historian and pioneer of development projects in Syria. Since the onset of the uprising in Syria she devoted her time to support the uprising. With colleagues in Syria she founded a secular opposition currently called Building The Syrian State. They call for peaceful democratic transition of power, a new social contract and a new constitution that treats all Syrians as equal citizens.

Nadim Shehadi, an associate fellow of Chatham House’s Middle East and north Africa programme.

Charles Glass, a broadcaster, journalist and writer, who began his journalistic career in 1973 at the ABC News Beirut bureau and was chief Middle East correspondent from 1983 to 1993. Since then, he has been a freelance writer, regularly covering the Middle East, the Balkans, southeast Asia and the Mediterranean region.