Syrian civil war: solving the prisoner’s dilemma
Wier, Joseph S.,Jr.
Al Reshoud, Fahed Musbeh Afnan
Robinson, Glenn E.
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Most international observers believe there are no suitable solutions to the Syrian civil war. They are wrong. By initially establishing the integral principle that the fighting in Syria is a microcosm of the regional cold war being fought between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we recognize that any resolution must satisfy these veto players. Utilizing game theory to evaluate the war, our research deconstructs the problematic position the parties have backed themselves into: perpetual fighting even though peace is more beneficial to everyone involved. The lens of the prisoner’s dilemma, which focuses on rational players acting counter to their best interests due to a lack of trust, helps us identify why both groups are driven to continue down a violent path instead of indulging in suspicion during the peace process. This analysis effectively demonstrates what the international community has failed to realize: a military stalemate is the optimal circumstance for reaching a lasting peace in Syria. This utilization of game theory, while obviously relevant to resolving one of today’s most precarious conflicts, also has larger implications for civil wars. These sorts of clashes are increasingly more commonplace, and an effective resolution knowledge base is necessary for a stable international environment.
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