Sep 7, 2012, 4:30 pm4:30 pm
1 Robertson Hall
Open To Public



Event Description

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination will hold a panel on Friday, September 7 at 4:30 p.m. in Bowl 1, Robertson Hall focusing on Syria and Iran. The panel will include crisis simulations focusing on the intensification of combat and the possible establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, and on simulations related to the possible regional ramifications of military strikes against targets in Iran. The panel's crisis simulations will be led by Col. Sam Gardiner, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), with comment from Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, director of LISD.

The panel is free and open to the public.

As the crisis and bloodshed in Syria continues to escalate with spill-over effects for Syria's neighbors, the geopolitical consequences of the situation become more unpredictable and complicated by the hour. The implementation of a partial no-fly zone over Syria by the United States and its allies in the region is no longer a distant possibility. The seriousness of the situation is further compounded by a network of complex geopolitical linkages ranging from the Levant in the West, to the Gulf, and the Hindu Kush in the East, the Caucasus in the North, and the greater Arabian Peninsula in the South. The Syrian crisis and the increasing tensions between Israel and Iran are at the core of this diverse and energy rich macro-region and have potentially negative ramifications for pressing challenges and broader tensions in the region, including, but not limited to, Sunni-Shia tensions, Israeli-Iranian tensions, the 2014 withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan, Kurdish radicalization and nationalism, and a broader geopolitical "freeze" from the Sinai to the Caspian, encompassing pressure points including Lebanon, Sinai, Nagorno-Karabakh, and pre-election Georgia. The division and rivalry of Great Power interests in the region have been highlighted as well as the shortcomings of UN crisis management as the civil war in Syria intensifies and the crisis with Iran escalates.  The longer the conflict festers, the higher the casualties, the more precarious the situation.

The public panel is the plenary session of a private, by invitation only seminar that will discuss Syria, Iran, and related developments in the macro-region and model potential outcomes on regional, international, and strategic levels, with the intent to develop solutions alternative to military operations. The private sessions on Saturday, September 8 will focus on discussions of various matters emerging from the intensification of hostilities in and around Syria, the intensification of the crisis for Lebanon, and possible Western intervention in Syria; the  possibility of an Israeli strike against targets in Iran; the potential ramifications of emerging events for Central Asia and Afghanistan.


Col. Sam Gardiner, US Air Force (retired), works on strategic issues. He has taught a course on strategy at the National War College for 20 years. He has taught strategy at the Air War College, Army War College and Naval War College. In addition, he was a visiting scholar at the Swedish Defense College. He has been involved with and facilitated State Department strategy reviews on Burma, Kosovo, Haiti, Bangladesh, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Sudan and Afghanistan. He designs and conducts war games. He has conducted games for the Air Force, Navy, Army, CIA, and Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department. He has conducted numerous war games on the military options for Iran and written extensively about the issue. He recently conducted a war game focused on Syria.

Wolfgang Danspeckgruber is the Founding Director of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University and has been teaching on issues of state, security, self-determination, diplomacy, and crisis diplomacy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Politics since 1988. He is also founder and chair of the Liechtenstein Colloquium on European and International Affairs, a private diplomacy forum in Liechtenstein.