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The promising world 'peace dividend', a term initially coined by US president George H. Bush and UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, was on everyone’s lips. The Soviet Union and United States vowed to work together to further cut down on a nuclear arsenal that could have blown up the world many times over.

” Instead, we should more seriously consider questions such as “Who keeps a conflict going? ” (Photo: Patrick Harris/flickr/cc)The end of the Cold War was one of the few historical moments in which people around the world looked forward to a future that promised to be more just and peaceful for everyone.

In analyzing the Syrian conflict, we should, of course, not lift the moral onus off the Assad regime, nor create wrong moral equivalenies, as Syrian commentators such as Alia Malek, Sami Alkayial and Yasser Munif have warned.

Sadly the Syrian conflict has become, to quote Mehdi Hasan, “the ultimate political and sectarian Rorschach test of our time.” Similarly, as Alia Malek points out: “[A] lot of people are kind of placing Syria as a character, as a bit character, into their larger sort of geopolitical narratives of what is happening in this world.

On the contrary, we have entered a new era of proxy wars.

Syria According to some commentators, the conflict in Syria at the doorstep of Europe is a heart-wrenching case-in-point for a new type of intractable Middle Eastern proxy war in which not two, but multiple regional and global powers have become drawn into conflict.

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