Syrian Peace Talks Discussed at JCU International Relations Society

On March 17, students and faculty joined the International Relations Society to discuss the Syrian peace talks at the latest installment of “Pizza and Politics.”

“Pizza and Politics” is a monthly lunchtime series designed to bring students and professors together for enlightened conversation about pressing, contemporary, global political events.

Professor Francesca Galli, specialist in counter terrorism policies, opened the discussion by contextualizing the peace talks that began on March 14 in Vienna. Previous attempts at negotiating and settling the Syrian conflict have failed, and Syria has now been in a civil war for almost five years.

Francesca Galli

Francesca Galli

“What are the issues at stake in establishing an inclusive government in Syria?” asked Prof. Galli. She brought up several questions that will have to be addressed by negotiators, such as how to foster a Syria-led dialogue, how to set up a transitional governmental body with a number of executive powers, and how terrorism will be fought on Syrian soil.

Discussion was then opened to the audience. First to comment was Professor Diane Maye, who said, “I think there needs to be cooperation between the great powers. For example, Russia cannot continue to support President Assad.”

Professor Michael Driessen agreed, adding, “It has been peaceful for the last couple of weeks since the cease fire. I think there are a lot of people tired of the war, and that may give them motivation to back off and not support it anymore. This includes Russia.”

The event concluded with questions from students regarding how ISIS will be dealt with moving forward and the potential involvement of non-national actors in the negotiations.

Learn more about the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at John Cabot University.