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Boston College Experts: Crisis in Syria

office of news & public affairs

Jonathan Laurence

Jonathan Laurence
Associate Professor of Political Science
office: 617.552.8991
cell: 617-230-0387
Faculty website

Laurence is nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy studies at the Brookings Institution. His research interests are transatlantic relations, Islam in the West, European politics, and North Africa/Turkey. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books; Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France (Brookings Institution Press, 2006) and  The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims: The State’s Role in Minority Integration (Princeton University Press 2012). Prof. Laurence’s research has been featured in The Washington Post and on National Public Radio, and his articles have been published by European Political Science, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Crisis Group, Le Monde, The New York Times, Perspectives on Politics, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel  and other US and European periodicals and think tanks. He is completing a new book comparing the evolution of state-Islam relations in Turkey, Morocco, and Western Europe. This past summer, Dr. Laurence was a guest researcher at Wissenchaftszentrum Berlin, a social science research center.

Peter Krause

Peter Krause
Assistant Professor of Political Science
office: 617.552.0759
cell: 617-595-8690
Faculty website

Krause is convinced the United States will take action to send a message to the world.

Krause says air strikes are dicey because many of the military targets may contain chemicals that could leak into the atmosphere. Another factor to consider, says Krause, is the end game.

“The Syrian regime, the Iranians, Hezbollah, aren’t just going to take these strikes laying down and not respond in any way,” says Professor Krause. “So if the U.S. wants to both launch these strikes, send a message, but at the same time not go too far and get into mission creep, they need to be thinking exactly what the next steps are going to be.”


Krause's research and writing focuses on international security, Middle East politics, non-state violence, and national movements. Krause has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the Middle East over the past five years and has published articles on the effectiveness of non-state violence, U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war, the politics of division within the Palestinian national movement, the war of ideas in the Middle East, and a reassessment of U.S. operations at Tora Bora in 2001. Among his publications is “Intervention in Syria: Reconciling Moral Premises and Realistic Outcomes,” (with Eva Bellin, Middle East Brief, June 2012).


Paul Christensen

Paul Christensen
Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science(617) 552-4176 (office)
(617) 792-3800 (cell)


Christensen is an expert on Russian domestic politics who has worked and studied in Russia numerous times over the years. His particular interest is in social movements and civil society; the comparative study of social movements; and globalization and its implications for democracy and civil society development. He is currently working on a book project titled Semi-Peripheral Globalization, Social Movements, and the State in Post-Communist Russia.